The Chargé in Brazil (Gordon) to the Secretary of State
[Received 8:27 p.m.]
82. Your 48, April 6, 3 p.m. (which was only delivered at Embassy at 9 a.m. today). Following is result of long conference which I have had with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Secretary-General, and the chief Chaco expert of Foreign Office.
The officials above named appreciated the fact that our reply is only an expression of our willingness to join with other American Republics in attempting to obtain peace between Bolivia and Paraguay [Page 29] without specific obligations on our part. The Foreign Minister proposes to answer the Argentine-Chilean invitation in the following manner: The first part of his reply will be essentially the same as ours. He will then state that as the invitation is to collaborate in efforts to secure Bolivian-Paraguayan agreement to modifications of the recommendations of the League of Nations of November 24, it would not be logical to accept the invitation at this stage inasmuch as if such agreement were secured it should properly be presented to the League of Nations Committee to decide whether such modifications were satisfactory; if this Committee (as he agreed it undoubtedly would) should decide in the affirmative it would then be up to the Committee to inform the United States and Brazil of the modifications agreed upon and to ask these two countries if in the light of their former answers to the League agreeing to collaborate on the basis of certain of its recommendations of November 24 they are equally prepared to agree to the modifications thereof.
The next point of the Brazilian answer is the fundamentally important one. In the documents accompanying the notes of April 1st conveying the Argentine and Chilean invitations there is contained a paragraph numbered 17 which is the proposed modification of paragraph number 16 of the League’s recommendations of November 24. This proposed modification reads as follows:
“Simultaneously with the negotiations above mentioned there will be convoked a conference of neighboring states of Argentina, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia with the object: first, of studying the question of communications between Bolivia and Paraguay and between each of them and the neighboring states; second, of studying the regional agreements destined to stimulate the commerce of Bolivia and Paraguay; third, any other economic measure of reconstruction and development of Bolivia and Paraguay.”
The Brazilian Government is unquestionably deeply resentful at being omitted from this conference; in its reply it will demand that it be represented and will suggest that the United States equally be invited to be represented inasmuch as Brazil considers United States representation essential in such matters as the economic and financial rehabilitation of two American countries completely exhausted by war.
The Minister added that he hoped our Government would agree with this point of view and in an entirely intimate vein said that he thought he would want to be in a position to be fully informed about oil developments in these regions.
With reference to the chief stumbling block—a revision of paragraph 17 above mentioned—the Brazilian Government was informed by its representative in Asunción over 2 weeks ago of its terms (inasmuch as the modification in question is understood to have originated [Page 30] with President Ayala17); on March 22 the Foreign Office telegraphed this information to Aranha18 for communication to you but says it has never had an answer indicating your reaction to it. As this is the cardinal point to the Brazilian Foreign Office it is somewhat puzzled at this lack of answer (and yet it apparently has not telegraphed Aranha to insist upon his emphasizing the point and reporting an answer).
The foregoing in large part answers the query contained in the last paragraph of Department’s telegram under reference. I should, however, add that over and above the position taken by the Brazilian Government as above set forth there is very definite feeling that the Argentine-Chilean invitation still represents a very half-baked proposition. Foreign Office’s latest information from Asunción is to the effect that Paraguay, having withdrawn from the League, will have nothing to do with any mediation proposals which involve League action. As the present Argentine-Chilean invitation involves just this the Foreign Office feels entirely uncertain as to Paraguay’s acceptance. It likewise feels that Bolivia’s attitude is by no means definite and precise. This is expressed in a telegram sent today to Aranha.
At the conclusion of the conference the Foreign Minister expressed the earnest hope that the views of his Government as set forth in this telegram would carry weight with you in your further determinations as to the policy to be pursued at this juncture. Accordingly, Brazilian reply to Argentina and Chile will not be transmitted until Wednesday and he stated that he would welcome an expression of your views prior to that time.
I trust the foregoing fully responds to your desire to know the real reasons for the present attitude of the Brazilian Government.