Minister of Foreign Affairs Celso Lafer
Address on Inter-America Treaty on Reciprocal Aid Application
September 21, 2001
We now stand confronted with a direct threat to the security of the hemisphere.
It is not just a matter of extending our condolences or offering words of consolation
to a friendly country hit by tragic events. The United States was not the only
country to suffer from the terrorist attacks of 11 September. We all felt attacked.
We were all hit. The world is not the same since that Tuesday morning. Our hemisphere
is no longer what it was.
With full support of the other member States, my country - Brazil - has taken
the initiative of invoking the Inter-American Treaty on Reciprocal Aid, because
the exceptional gravity of the attacks, and the discussion of their consequences,
justify resorting to our hemispheric collective-security mechanism.
These five decades and more since the signing of TIAR have not diminished its
validity. Here I recall the lesson of the then Brazilian Chancellor, San Tiago
Dantas, at the 1962 meeting of the Treaty advisory body, when he commented that
the vitality of the inter-American system lies in "the capacity to settle
and overcome problems through constructive solutions out of a communion of ideas
and a joining together of forces to reach an objective that is shared by all."
Today, the invocation of TIAR reflects that communion of ideas. The objective
shared by all is the intensification of hemispheric cooperation to fight the
terrorist threat, the determination to go beyond words, the action of solidarity
in order to ensure truth and justice.
In October, 1962 TIAR was invoked to keep the threat of nuclear missiles out
of the hemisphere. The threat against which we now stand united is international
The supreme forum for multilateral decision, the Security Council of the General
Assembly of the United Nations, with complete support of Brazil, has manifested
itself on the matter of the attacks on 11 September.
On a regional level, TIAR affords us the proper legal space for open discussion
and definition of common lines of action. Not for a war to be imposed
the Treaty itself stipulates that no State will be obliged to use its armed
forces without its consent but in order to allow each one of our countries,
within its own capacity and the means that are available, to find the best way
of contributing towards the common effort in combating terrorism, those responsible
for it and those who lend it shelter and support.
Not only in order to reiterate our hemispheric solidarity in the face of the
criminal aggression that one of our countries has suffered, but also to guarantee
that the countries of the Americas, in the fight against external threats, will
always respect the shared values that are the very foundations of the inter-American
system: democracy, diversity, tolerance, human rights, repudiation of racism
and xenophobia, respect for individual freedom and the intrinsic value of human
Repudiation of terrorism, together with repudiation of racism, lies enshrined
in the Brazilian Constitution as one of the principles that rule our country's
On renewing our absolute solidarity with the people and government of the United
States in this hour of distress, Brazil is convinced that the rulings of this
body of consultation will contribute to guide with wisdom and prudence the concerted
efforts of our countries towards ridding the Americas of the threat of terrorism,
and so draw closer to our common objectives of security and peace in the hemisphere.