Pan-American Union, former name for the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS). It was founded (1889–90) at the first of the modern Inter-American Conferences (see Pan-Americanism) as the Commercial Bureau of the American Republics and changed to the International Bureau of the American Republics in 1902. The name Pan-American Union was adopted in 1910. Created to promote international cooperation, it offered technical and informational services to all the American republics, served as the repository for international documents, and was responsible through subsidiary councils for the furtherance of economic, social, juridical, and cultural relations. In 1948 it was made the General Secretariat for the OAS, although the name was not dropped until 1970. The anniversary of its founding is Pan-American Day.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.