The Chargé in Uruguay (Gade) to the Secretary of State

No. 957

Sir: With reference to the negotiations being carried on in Montevideo between the Bolivian and Paraguayan Ministers and the Uruguayan Minister for Foreign Affairs regarding the manner of exchanging Forts Vanguardia and Boquerón, I have the honor to report the following information.

The Bolivian Minister, Señor Diez de Medina, in a conversation on December 9th, informed me that his Government considered that the terms of the agreement should be carried out in the order in which these terms were set forth, namely, reestablishment of the status quo ante in the Chaco before the renewal of diplomatic relations; and restoration of the buildings of Fort Vanguardia by Paraguay before the abandonment of Fort Boquerón by Bolivia. In this connection he declared that the Paraguayan Government held that one of the two designated Uruguayan officers should proceed to Fort Vanguardia and the other to Fort Boquerón, and that Bolivia should abandon the latter Fort upon the commencement of the work of restoration of the buildings of Fort Vanguardia by Paraguay. The Bolivian Government, on the contrary, believed that Fort Vanguardia [Page 310] should first be restored and the two forts then exchanged simultaneously.

After an unsuccessful three-hour meeting held at the Foreign Office here on the 9th instant by the Uruguayan Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Bolivian and Paraguayan Ministers, the following self-explanatory statement (which I telegraphed to the Department)28 was made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs:

(Translation) “In view of the position taken by the representatives of the contending parties, I thought it advisable to present in the name of the Uruguayan Government a formula of conciliation, which was submitted to the Paraguayan and Bolivian Governments for study. Certain objections were made by the latter, and many of the conclusions were rejected by the former.

“Tomorrow the Uruguayan Ministry of Foreign Affairs will submit for the consideration of the Governments of both countries a formula which is enlarged and in part revised, taking into consideration the desires of each in such a manner that without friction or injury to susceptibilities we might arrive at a definite agreement.

“This formula provides that the Uruguayan officers divide their tasks, one proceeding to Fort Vanguardia and the other to Fort Boquerón, where the latter will await the reconstruction of the structures destroyed in that military post. Upon completion of this, the Bolivians will take possession of Vanguardia and the Paraguayans of Boquerón on the same day.

“As the non-acceptance of this formula would signify a lack of good will, since there is only opposition to unimportant details, the Uruguayan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in that event would withdraw from any further intervention. This would be most deplorable, for all the high aspirations of confraternity which have been manifested in the consideration of the problem and all the extensive work done to reach a happy solution in the meetings of the neutrals held in the United States capital would fall to the ground.

“The discrepancies consist, I repeat, in slight details regarding the form in which the evacuation of Boquerón and the delivery of Vanguardia should be carried out. Our Government understands that as a proof of friendship and as the first act of a new era of peace this should be effected simultaneously.

[“]It is to be hoped that the Uruguayan proposal will be accepted, since on the contrary it would mean a return to the moment of the beginning of the conflict, and this would be a constant menace to continental harmony.”

The Bolivian Minister informed the press that his Government would accept the proposal of the Uruguayan Government. The Paraguayan Minister declined to comment, merely declaring that he was duly forwarding the proposal to Asunción.

I shall not fail to keep the Department fully informed of future developments in the matter.

Gerhard Gade
  1. Telegram No. 56, December 10, 1929. noon, Foreign Relations, 1929, vol. i, p. 862.