March 15-18, 1994 Buenos Aires, Argentina

OAS Meeting of Govemmental Experts

The OAS held a Govemmental Experts' meeting on CSBMs in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 15-18,1994. The U.S. Delegation to the meeting was led by U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) Acting Assistant Director Norman Wulf and consisted of six additional experts (representing ACDA, Department of State/US Mission to OAS, the U.S. Delegation to the Inter-American Defense Boar joint Staff; and American Embassy Buenos Aires). The Conference consisted of five plenary sessions and two working groups. The first working group developed an illustrative list of CSBMs for the region, and the second prepared a final report with recommendations to the OAS Permanent Council.

Representatives from 19 OAS Member States participated: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, the U.S., Uruguay and Venezuela. In addition, the meeting was attended by a large number of OAS Observer States (Belgium, Germany, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, 1 Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and Russia) and several other organization including the Inter-American Defense Board, the Woodrow Wilson Center, the City University of New York, and the University of Miami's North-South Center.

The agenda was managed by vice chairmen chosen at the meeting, under overall supervision of Argentina as host. The agenda for the meeting was the following:

I. Measures to Build and Strengthen Confidence: Their Meaning and Objectives (Chaired by Canada);

II. List and Analysis of Measures Which May Contribute to Building and Strengthening Mutual Confidence in the Region: Military Measures; Measures of Other Kinds; Measures to Prevent, Address and Peacefully Resolve Disputes (Chaired by Antigua and Barbuda);

III. Favorable Political Environment for the Implementation of Measures to Build and Strengthen Confidence in the Region (Chaired by Chile);

IV. The OAS and Hemispheric Security: Analysis and Perspectives; Measures to Build Mutual Confidence; Cooperation with the United Nations on this Matter (Chaired by the U.S.); and

V. Latest Developments in the United Nations Regarding Confidence-Building Matters (Chaired by Peru).


The 21st OAS General Assembly (OASGA), which took place in Santiago, Chile in June of 1991, created a Permanent Council Working Group to examine security issues ranging from proliferation and arms transfers to "cooperation for hemispheric security." The Permanent Council "Working Group on Cooperation for Hemispheric Security" began meeting in October 1991. In 1992, the 22nd OASGA changed its status to that of "Special Committee (of the Permanent Council) on Hemispheric Security." The Committee has been chaired by Argentina (Ambassador Hernan Patino Mayer) throughout its existence and is currently vice-chaired by Antigua/Barbuda (Ambassador Patrick Lewis).

To sharpen the focus on hemispheric security, the Special Committee at the 22nd OAS General Assembly advanced a resolution (AG/RES. 1179, XXII-0192) dealing broadly with nonproliferation and arms control, which was adopted by consensus. Resolution 1179 established for the first time an agenda for the region on these matters. Last year, to concretely follow up on resolution 1179, Argentina and Canada introduced a resolution that called for the convening of a meeting of Governmental Experts to discuss CSBMs. This resolution (AG/RES. 1237) was adopted by consensus at the 23rd OASGA on June 11, 1993.

On November 17-19,1993, the OAS convened a Preparatory Expert Meeting on Confidence- and Security- Building Measures in Washington to discuss CSBMs and establish procedures and agenda for the future meeting mandated by the OASGA resolution. The U.S. Delegation to the Preparatory Meeting consisted of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the Department of State, the U.S. Mission to the OAS, the Department of Defense, and the Joint Staff. The U.S. made two presentations at the preparatory meeting: The Definition of CSBMs (given by the Acting ACDA, Assistant Director for Multilateral Affairs) and The Experience of the U.S. With T given by the Deputy Office Director for Department of Defense, Office of Negotiation and Implementation.

Illustrative List of CSBMs

In addition to the historic nature of the Buenos Aires Governmental Experts' meeting in March, the experts developed an illustrative list of CSBMs for countries to consider adopting, as appropriate, on a bilateral, sub-regional and regional level. Working from various delegation papers, the experts developed a four page list of CSBMs, which includes both military and non-military CSBMs.

Among the military CSBMs developed were measures concerning troop movements and maneuvers, exchange of information, exchange of personnel, communication, contacts, training and education. Among the non-military CSBMs developed were measures of a political, diplomatic, educational, and cultural nature. The meeting also agreed to continue work on this dynamic document by considering CSBMs of an economic nature, but this additional area was left to future action by the Special Committee on Hemispheric Security at the OAS. Likewise, the Group recommended a study of CSBMs of a verification nature.

Final Report

Another significant document developed and adopted by the OAS Experts was a final report with recommendations to the OAS Permanent Council. In this report, the Experts agreed to recommend, to the competent bodies of the Organization of American States, the consideration of the following items:

(1) The continuation, through the OAS Special Committee on Hemispheric Security, of the study of the questions of confidence-building and, among others, those related to peaceful settlement of disputes and the prevention of conflicts.

(2) To recommend to Member States the putting into effect, at the appropriate levels and by the means they consider suitable, of various confidence-building measures.

(3) To recommend to the Member States that they advise the competent OAS bodies, on a regular basis, of the application of confidence-building measures.

(4) To charge the Special Committee on Hemispheric Security that it, giving continuity to the work begun in the meeting of Buenos Aires, put together a thorough and systematic survey of confidence-building measures that are being applied in the hemisphere, with a view to their diffusion, better information, and easier adoption and application at the bilateral, subregion, and hemispheric levels.

(5) To carry forward the consultations at OAS headquarters leading up to the celebration in 1995 of a regional conference on confidence-and security-building measures in the region, whose site has been offered by Chile.

(6) To encourage steadfastly the application of the recommendations; contained in (OASGA Resolution AG/RES. 1179 (XXII-0/92) and other pertinent resolutions of the General Assembly.

The Experts thanked the Argentine officials for organizing the Conference and for the gracious welcome they received, and expressed their satisfaction with the results achieved at their first meeting.


The OAS Conference on CSBMs was an historic milestone for the region, the OAS and its Member States. The Conference established several precedents for the region, such as the first formal meeting of its kind in Latin America from 19 countries representing all regions of the hemisphere, and the establishment of an illustrative list of CSBMS for countries to consider in their bilateral, sub-regional and regional relations.

With the issue of CSBMs on the agenda for the hemisphere, there are several upcoming occasions to continue the dialogue and understanding of CSBMs within the region.

At the OAS, the Special Committee on Hemispheric Security has emerged as an important institution for the discussion and implementation of security matters, including nonproliferation and arms control. Likewise, the annual OASGAs have over the past three years significantly contributed to the region's negotiations and implementation of measures for greater understanding and trust.

In 1992, at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, the Vice Foreign Minister of Chile proposed to hold a Regional Conference on Mutual Confidence-Building and Security-Building Measures in Latin America. This offer has now become integrated within the OAS' own CSBMs process and may lead to further progress on the issue. The Conference will be held in 1995.

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