724.3415/1837: Telegram

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

54. A communiqué given out by the Ministry of War states as follows:

“The commander of the 1st Division reports that a Paraguayan detachment has retaken Fortín Carlos Antonio López, capturing two heavy machine guns and a large quantity of munitions and rifles. Casualties 3 dead, 8 wounded, enemy losses more numerous. Fuller report is expected tomorrow or next day.”

News telegraphed here from La Paz of popular demonstrations in favor of war has produced like demonstrations here. Tonight students, after holding mass meetings in the squares, marched to the station to meet Ayala returning from Buenos Aires, and to the house of the President who addressed them. He declared Paraguay’s counterattack the logical consequence and the legitimate punishment of an unjustified crime on the part of Bolivia. When Paraguay’s fortín was assailed she was confidently assisting at conferences at Washington to bring about a non-aggression pact proposed by Bolivia herself. Paraguay’s honor had been avenged and satisfaction taken and with this the nation was satisfied. She would never provoke a war but if Bolivia insisted on her policy of aggression and illicit and violent penetration into Paraguayan territory Paraguay would rise as one man. He closed with an appeal for calmness and confidence in the Government. A Cabinet meeting has been called for tomorrow.

Wheeler