724.34119/94: Telegram

The Chargé in Paraguay (Thurston) to the Secretary of State

54. My 53, August 1, 10 a.m. Having received from Ambassador Gibson a telegram stating that the Argentine Minister for Foreign Affairs had heard that the Presidents of Paraguay and Bolivia were to meet between August 8 and 11 to discuss the territorial question but apparently had heard nothing of bringing the military leaders into the negotiations, I called upon President Ayala last evening and inquired concerning the results of the conversations between Generals Estigarribia and Penaranda and the report (published in the morning papers) that he would hold a meeting with President Tejada Sorzano.

President Ayala replied that General Estigarribia had reported that his conversation with General Penaranda had been most satisfactory. Although the President did not explicitly so state, his subsequent remarks indicated that the purpose of the conversations was to ascertain whether agreement exists as to the necessity and feasibility of an immediate and definite settlement of the boundary question and that agreement on this point does exist. In the meanwhile the President has been urged by Argentina, ostensibly in the person of General Martinez Pita,73 to meet with the President of Bolivia and has indicated his readiness to do so. He is however, he [Page 114] said, apprehensive that the Bolivian President will present a demand for a port on the Paraguay or some other unacceptable claim and he is accordingly unwilling to hold the meeting until he is assured that Sorzano is prepared to discuss with him the one paramount question of the boundary. I inferred that negotiations designed to bring about a meeting on this basis are under way probably between Estigarribia and Penaranda.

In the course of the conversation the President made the following remarks:

All other features of the peace negotiations are secondary to the boundary settlement and if that can be arrived at Paraguay will be disposed to modify its stand on some points, notably the question of responsibility—which it would drop:
If boundary agreement is not reached through direct efforts he foresees failure of Buenos Aires Conference.
Paraguay will not cede territory it now occupies. Adjustments may become possible in the future but are impossible now. Repeated to Buenos Aires.

  1. Rodolfo Martinez Pita (Argentine), Chairman of the Neutral Military Commission.