724.3415/2976: Telegram

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

10. Your 38, March 25, noon.78 The representatives of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru, on March 20th in writing advised the Neutral [Page 296] Commission of the Mendoza formula and of the replies of Bolivia and Paraguay accepting this formula “in principle.” Their note continues that in view of this favorable reception given the proposal those Governments felt that the future peaceful negotiations could be better carried out if Bolivia and Paraguay should consent to an immediate absolute cessation of hostilities for 60 days, “by means of a convention whose details would be decided upon in a rapid exchange of ideas between the parties and the neighboring countries”. They requested the Neutrals to make immediate representation to Bolivia and Paraguay to bring about the cessation of hostilities.

As the Neutral Commission obviously could not take the position of opposing an armistice or any other peaceful settlement, and not wanting to make direct representations to the two countries in view of your No. 37 of March 22, 10 a.m. [p.m?], and similar reports from Bolivia, it merely acknowledged receipt on the 23d instant of the above mentioned note and stated that the Neutral Commission had determined unanimously to support in a cordial and decided manner the interesting proposition of the neighbors and that the four neighboring Governments could so state to the Governments of Bolivia and Paraguay “upon drawing up the convention for the absolute cessation of hostilities whose details as stated by Your Excellencies will be decided upon in a rapid exchange of ideas between the parties and the neighboring countries”. That is all that the Neutral Commission has done or proposes at this time to do. The text of the notes were given out here but no other public statement was made. When the representatives of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru presented their note on March 20th, the Peruvian Ambassador presented a separate note stating that in signing the collective note he wanted to make it clear that his Government felt that the armistice should be carried out on the basis that both parties would maintain their actual respective positions without their forces being obliged to withdraw. This is undoubtedly the cause of the press reports you mention. You will note that the suggestion comes however from the Peruvian Government and not from the Neutral Commission.

You are at liberty to make such use of the above as you consider most helpful.

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