Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance

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(Sept. 1947)

A security agreement signed and ratified by all of the 21 American republics, which formalized and extended the informal security pact against Germany and Japan during World War II in response to the emerging Cold War. A pact against aggression from outside and within the alliance, it was regarded by most members as a multilateral mechanism for the maintenance of peace and stability across the region. The US, however, considered this to be another bloc against the spread of Communism.

The treaty was invoked in a number of regional conflicts, such as those between Nicaragua and Costa Rica in 1949, 1955, and 1959. At the same time, it has also been used to justify US intervention in the member states' domestic affairs, such as those in Grenada (1983) or Panama (1989). Since 1948 it has been complemented by the formation of a political alliance, the OAS.

Subjects: Warfare and Defence — History.

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