724.3415/4731a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Brazil ( Gordon )

48. Please obtain an interview immediately with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and advise him that your Government has today sent the following reply to the Governments of Argentina and Chile in response to the invitation extended to cooperate in the Chaco peace negotiations:

(Quote text of telegram of April 6, 1935 to Buenos Aires and Santiago.)

Throughout the past 2 weeks, I have consulted with Aranha continuously concerning all phases of the situation leading up to the extension by Argentina and Chile of the invitation to participate in the Chaco negotiations. Aranha has been fully informed of all the information received by the Department and he has in turn communicated to us in extenso all information communicated to him by his own Government. When the invitation was first received, Aranha believed that the Government of Brazil would unquestionably assume the same attitude as that taken by this Government. He himself agreed that the consistent policy maintained both by the United States and Brazil during the past 12 months of cooperating in the cause of peace whenever it was possible to do so, the nature of the replies made by both Governments to the League of Nations after receiving the League’s recommendations of November 24, 1934, and finally, the public professions made by both Governments of their determination to cooperate with the other American Republics in obtaining a pacific solution of the Chaco dispute, would all make it illogical for Brazil and the United States to refrain now from lending their assistance when asked to do so by Argentina and Chile, particularly at a moment when both of the belligerents appear to be more strongly desirous of obtaining peace than at any other moment during the past 3 years. He shares the opinion held by the Department that the adoption of an attitude of non-cooperation by Brazil or by the United States at this juncture would subject our two Governments to well founded resentment on the part of the belligerent nations, on the part of Argentina and Chile, and on the part of continental public opinion in general.

The only explanation which Aranha can advance for the apparent reluctance of the Brazilian Government to adopt the attitude taken by the United States is the expression of opinion he has received from his Foreign Minister that the present negotiations are doomed to failure and that the serious discord existing between Argentina and Chile may give rise to serious further complications.

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In your conversation with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, please do not refer to the personal opinions expressed by Aranha in this matter. You should state that this Government had believed that the policy of Brazil and of the United States with regard to cooperation in Chaco peace negotiations was very similar and that your Government regrets to learn of the reluctance with which the Brazilian Government would accept the present invitation. You should then point out that the reply made by the United States as above quoted is merely an expression on our part of our willingness to join with the other American Republics in attempting to obtain peace between Bolivia and Paraguay and that it neither commits the United States to any specific obligations nor does it commit the United States to any specific peace proposal; it merely states the willingness of the United States to cooperate in the formulation of a peace proposal to be presented to both belligerents and to join in the effort to persuade both belligerents to accept some fair and equitable solution. Finally, you may say that this Government would, of course, have very much preferred to see eye to eye with the Brazilian Government in this matter and has consequently postponed for several days the despatch of its reply, but that inasmuch as the United States could not refrain from cooperation under the circumstances in view of the policy which it has consistently maintained, it feels it necessary to transmit its reply to the two Governments which have extended the invitation without any further delay.

Please cable result of your conversation with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and advise the Department what, in your judgment, are the real reasons for the attitude now taken by the Brazilian Government.