724.3415/1835: Telegram

The Minister in Bolivia (Feely) to the Secretary of State

37. The Bolivian General Staff received on July 18th at 9:45 p.m. the following report from the Commander of the 4th Division located at Fortín Munoz in the Chaco:

“The following communication was received today at 4 p.m. from the Commander of Fortín Santa Cruz:

‘On July 15th at 12 noon our Fortín Mariscal Santa Cruz was surrounded by more than 300 Paraguayan troops. The combat continues.

The courier who brought this news to Fortín Munoz states that one Bolivian officer was wounded and two soldiers killed and adds that artillery fire could be heard. No other details available, (signed) Lieutenant Colonel Pareja’.”

Rumors of further activity in the Chaco were current on July 17th and although a denial was issued by the General Staff, a demonstration of about 200 persons, mostly students, paraded the streets that night demanding drastic action by the Government.

It is probable that further demonstrations will be held today, and although the press is calm, it will now be difficult to avoid a major conflict in the Chaco.