The Acting Secretary of State to President Roosevelt

My Dear Mr. President: Mr. Francis White recommends, and I concur, that he call a meeting of the Chaco Neutral Commission and endeavor to have this Commission send telegrams to the Bolivian and Paraguayan Governments to the effect that, as the dispute is now being taken up in Geneva, and in order not to cross wires, the Neutral Commission withdraw from its activities, leaving them entirely in the hands of the League of Nations.

We should suggest that the Neutral Commission send a similar telegram to the President of the League of Nations saying that, as there are many non-combatant South American countries that have real political interests involved in this dispute any commission which the League might send to the Chaco could appropriately be composed entirely of Latin Americans.

After four and a half years of patient endeavors in this matter the United States can in this way get out of the matter gracefully and leave [Page 341] it to the League and South Americans. In our opinion, we should not be a member of the League commission dealing with the Chaco matter because, if we do so, we will surely run into conflict with Argentina, which is not a neutral and has openly supported Paraguay. It seems evident that Argentina will not work for the success of the League commission and failure, therefore, of such efforts is almost assured. We do not want to get into trouble with Argentina on account of American interests in that country. We have no interest in the Chaco.

This seems to be the precise moment for us to withdraw from the Neutral Commission because the new Minister from Paraguay has stated that he has no instructions to discuss with us the Chaco matter, and the Bolivian Minister has been ordered to Geneva for a couple of months in connection with the affair. There is no one, therefore, left in Washington who is authorized to deal with the matter. We believe that it is time to liquidate the Neutral Commission and for the United States to withdraw entirely from the matter. May I have your approval to this course?11

Faithfully yours,

William Phillips
  1. Reply not found in Department files.