Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State (Welles)

The Minister of Uruguay called to see me this morning and left with me a copy of a message which he had received by cable from his Government, translation of which is as follows:

“Please inform the Department of State that the Uruguayan Government would not wish to be excluded from the negotiations which are taking place to obtain peace in the Chaco and believes that such exclusion is not justified because of all the antecedents which present Uruguay as animated by high and lofty pacific purposes. At the same time, say to the Department of State that Uruguay would consider herself happy if she could join in the peace negotiations at the side of the United States and of Brazil.”15a

I told the Minister that I was very happy to receive this message from his Government and asked him to let his Government know, confidentially, that as soon as I had seen that Uruguay had not been invited by Argentina and Chile, I had asked the Argentine and Chilean Ambassadors to be kind enough to let me know confidentially what the reasons might be for the failure to extend an invitation to Uruguay. I told the Minister that as yet I had not received any full information but only the confidential statement from the Argentine Ambassador that the Argentine Foreign Minister had advised him that Argentina had desired the inclusion of Uruguay and was heartily in favor of it. I said that it would hardly appear appropriate, if the United States, as it now intended to, accepted the invitation to join the mediation negotiations, to insist upon the inclusion of Uruguay as a sine qua non to her participation. It might well be that after we had joined the negotiations, we could appropriately suggest the inclusion of Uruguay. I told the Minister that the moral importance of his Government on the Continent was recognized by all and particularly by the United States and that nothing would give this Government more satisfaction than to be associated with Uruguay once more in furthering peace proposals in the Chaco.

The Minister was most effusive in his appreciation of the attitude which we took and said that he realized fully that the United States could not at this moment tell the belligerents and Argentina and Chile whom to include in the negotiations, but that he hoped his country would be called upon to take part both because of its geographical position and because of the consistent efforts it had made during all of these past years to be of use in an impartial manner in the solution of the dispute.

S[umner] W[elles]
  1. Department of State translation revised by the editors.