The Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, or the Rio Treaty, was signed by 19 nations in Rio de Janeiro Sept. 2, 1947, ending the Inter-American Defense Conference. It was billed at the time as the world's first regional defense and peace-keeping alliance. Today 22 nations have signed the accord.

PROVISIONS: The treaty provides for peaceful settlement of disputes between Western Hemisphere nations and a united defense against aggression within a defense zone ranging from Greenland to the Antarctic. "An armed attack by any State against an American State shall be considered as an attack against all the American States," according to the treaty.

The treaty condemns war and "threat or use of force . . . inconsistent with" the U.N. Charter; pledges efforts to settle all disputes between signatories peacefully, before they are referred to the United Nations; agrees on joint defense of any American nation attacked within its own territory; allows for joint action against aggressions that have not reached the shooting stage; prescribes that in inter-American fighting, the conflicting nations may be called on to suspend hostilities pending peaceful adjustment, and sets up provisions to determine when conflicts apply to the treaty and how they are to be resolved.

SIGNATORIES: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela and the United States.

RESERVATIONS: Several countries served notices to the conference, including Argentina, which challenged Britain over the Falkland Islands at the time and asserted its claim on the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands.

ARTICLE 6: If the inviolability or the integrity of the territory or the sovereignty or political independence of any American State should be affected by an aggression which is not an armed attack or by an extra-continental or intra-continental conflict, or by any other fact or situation that might endanger the peace of America, the Organ of Consultation foreign ministers of signatory nations shall meet immediately in order to agree on the measures which must be taken in case of aggression to assist the victim of the aggression or, in any case, the measures which should be taken for the common defense and for the maintenance of the peace and security of the Continent.