The Consul at Geneva (Gilbert) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 24—3:25 p.m.]
263. At the Council meeting this morning under the presidency of de Valera (Irish), Matos (Guatemala), who, the Department will recall, as former President of the Council engaged in correspondence with the Bolivian and Paraguayan Governments (although this matter was not on the agenda) brought forward the Bolivian-Paraguayan matter.
He cited the exchanges between himself and those Governments, as reported in the Consulate’s previous telegrams, and in this no new elements were introduced. He then emphasized however that he felt this action had been particularly incumbent on him inasmuch as the Covenant of the League is the only instrument by which these states are mutually bound in matters respecting the maintenance of peace. He pointed out the efforts which were being made by the “neutrals” at Washington and by “neighboring countries” which he had followed with “satisfaction and confidence” particularly the declaration by the “nineteen countries” that they would not recognize any territorial arrangements which had not been obtained by pacific means (note Consulate’s despatch No. 353, political, September 13, page 3),13[Page 232]
He suggested that the Council should declare that it held itself ready to further these efforts of the American Republics and that the Secretary General should make this declaration known to the American Republics.
Madariaga (Spanish) voiced general approval of Matos’ statement but stressed strongly that no other legal link in this matter existed between the disputants except the Covenant and that all other efforts were voluntary and only expressions of international goodwill. He asserted that the Council is bound, particularly under the provisions of the Covenant, to take some action and that under these circumstances the Council should go further and give definite indications of its responsibility. He suggested that a rapporteur or a small committee be appointed to follow this matter and to report to the Council.
The representatives of Great Britain, France and Panama associated themselves with the statements of Matos and of Madariaga.
The statements of Matos which were regarded in the light of a “report” were approved by the Council. No action was taken on Madariaga’s suggestions.
In conversations later with Matos and responsible officials I gathered that the policy of the leading members of the Council is that the League continue its position substantially as outlined in my conversation with Dufour-Féronce, reported in my No. 228, August 3, 7 p.m., paragraph 3, and that even though a rapporteur or a special committee [is appointed, this would be?] merely in line with Council procedure in similar cases and would not necessarily imply a change of policy in this matter.
- Not printed.↩