724.3415/987: Telegram

The Minister in Paraguay (Wheeler) to the Acting Secretary of State

22. Your telegram No. 7, February 11, 5 p.m. My informal call on the Minister for Foreign Affairs, preceding my formal reception by the President, developed into a prolonged conversation on the Chaco situation. I expressed the continued concern of my Government and its profound hope that peace would be maintained and he [Page 317] repeated with the greatest earnestness that Paraguay had made every reasonable concession and desired nothing further so much as a quick settlement. The Legation lacks record of action taken on the Department’s telegrams numbers 1, 4, and 5 of January 6th,38 27th,39 and 30th, but he shows familiarity with them. As to telegram number 1, he states that the Department somewhat misunderstood the Uruguayan proposal which in fact provided not that the Uruguayan officers should divide their tasks but that they should proceed together, first to Vanguardia and then to Boquerón. As to telegram number 4, he remarked that the rains unfortunately would not prevent attacks on isolated outposts and that regarding reduction Bolivia’s forces at certain forts it is the expectation that the troops withdrawn will be replaced by new. His point of view is that if the neutral commissioners did not contemplate simultaneous action neither is there any indication that they contemplated that Vanguardia should be restored before Boquerón. I believe this Government is too strongly committed to the principle of simultaneous action to yield this point. What could have been waived at the outset without great difficulty has become more difficult to yield since the agreement upon the new formula was reached here by the Uruguayan Special Mission and the Paraguayan Foreign Office. (See Legation’s telegrams No. 6, January 13, 5 [3] p.m.; and 7 [8], January 15 [19], 8 a.m.; and despatch 982 of the latter date).40

This morning the Minister for Foreign Affairs informed me, in strictest confidence, the Uruguayan Foreign Office has now accepted this new formula but that in so doing it expresses the desire “that there be added to the Paraguayan formula the declaration that the Uruguayan Government shall retain complete liberty to give to its officials such instructions as it deems appropriate”. To this he is at present disposed to object on the ground that proper liberty of action is given them by the terms of the agreement itself. Dr. Higinio Arbo, the newly appointed Minister to Uruguay, left for his post today. In the face of the rumors of continued activity of Bolivian patrols in the Vanguardia sector the Government here shows complete patience and calmness. The movement reported in the Legation’s telegram number 16, January 24, 8 p.m.,39 does not appear to be a wide one. A further telegram will be sent tomorrow.

Repeated to La Paz and Montevideo.

  1. See telegram No. 5, January 6, 5 p.m., to the Chargé in Uruguay, p. 311.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Telegram No. 8, January 19, and despatch No. 982, January 15, not printed.
  4. Not printed.