724.3415/4733: Telegram

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

49. Your 82, April 7, 5 p.m. The views contained in your cable are exceedingly useful and the facts transmitted supply certain information which the Department had previously only gathered indirectly.

For your confidential information, the argument advanced by the Foreign Minister in the third paragraph of your cable and which will be contained in the Brazilian reply cannot, in the judgment of this Government, be taken very seriously and it assumes that it is merely utilized by the Brazilian Government for the purpose of justifying its attitude of refraining from committing itself until it can secure assurances regarding Brazilian participation in the proposed economic conference of neighboring states. It would be desirable to make no comment to the Brazilian Government regarding the attitude so taken.

Aranha has upon several occasions referred to the omission of Brazil from the countries specified to take part in the proposed economic conference, has expressed considerable resentment regarding such exclusion, and has indicated the desirability of the inclusion of the United States as well.

In my conversations with him on this point I have limited myself to stating that the first object set forth in the proposed modification to the League’s recommendations covering the suggested economic conference which reads: “Study of the question of communications between Bolivia and Paraguay and between each of them and the neighboring states,” would appear clearly to indicate the need of obtaining Brazilian participation in and approval of the formulation of measures to be determined upon and that consequently it would seem that the exclusion of Brazil from the list of states to deal with such studies could only be due to some inexplicable error.

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With regard to the omission of the United States from the list of states mentioned, I have solely emphasized the fact that the proposals to be considered are to be dealt with by “neighboring states” and inasmuch as the United States is not, of course, a neighboring state, there would appear to be no reason for our inclusion. I have, however, remarked that anything which tends to extend in a practical way communications between the American republics and anything which tends to increase economic and commercial development on the continent are matters which will receive in principle the hearty support of this Government.

You may advise the Foreign Minister of the foregoing and further say that in the opinion of this Government the terms of the acceptance by the United States of the invitation tendered will, of course, make it possible for this Government to suggest any amendments to any peace proposal which may be offered the belligerents which seem practical and desirable, and that necessarily the desires of the Brazilian Government in this matter will receive our immediate and favorable consideration. Second, you may point out that the views of the Brazilian Government on this particular point would seem to imply that by accepting the invitation, the United States and Brazil would be definitely bound to the terms of peace proposals already formulated, namely, the exact text of the modifications of the League recommendations as at present drafted. You should emphasize that this is not the point of view held by this Government; that the United States has agreed to cooperate on the definite understanding that it reserves complete liberty of action to make such suggestions as it deems fit and to offer such amendments to the proposals already advanced as in its judgment may be desirable, and that consequently the United States, while fully realizing the justice of the contention of Brazil that it be included in the proposed economic conference, cannot share the view of the Brazilian Government that a general acceptance of the invitation such as that made by the United States would in any way hamper Brazil from insisting upon its inclusion in the economic conference during the course of the subsequent negotiations.

You may in conclusion express the hope of this Government that the views as above set forth may appeal to the Brazilian Government after further study, and you may add that this Government deeply appreciates the very frank statement of the Brazilian Government’s position as made through you. The success of the proposed peace negotiations will, in my judgment, be greatly facilitated by a continuation of this free and frank interchange of opinions throughout the course of the mediation discussions between the Governments of Brazil and the United States.