724.3415/4755: Telegram

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

88. My 85, April 10, 8 p.m. As text of Brazilian answer was cabled to Aranha last night the Department doubtless has it by now and will [Page 34] probably feel as I do that it does not entirely come up to the indication given me yesterday by the Foreign Minister as reported in last clause of penultimate sentence of my telegram under reference. I have had no opportunity to ascertain whether last minute changes were made by the President after the Foreign Minister departed for São Paulo early last night.

In the Foreign Minister’s absence the Secretary-General this afternoon convoked the Ambassadors of Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay, the Ministers of Bolivia and Paraguay and myself to deliver to them copies of the text of the Brazilian answer. The Argentine and Chilean Ambassadors spoke at length insisting that the exclusion of Brazil from the economic conference must have been a mistake; that the original error must have been carried over without being noticed through various redrafting and retypings of the documents accompanying the invitations of Argentina and Chile; that personally they were convinced that their country would not think of excluding Brazil from the conference knowing how thoroughly their Government appreciated the consistent collaboration of Brazil in Chaco peace efforts.

The Secretary-General then replied that as far back as February 6 the Paraguayan Government had called the attention of the Argentine Government to the omission of Brazil from the proposed conference in the preliminary documents dealing with the proposed modifications to the League’s recommendations of November 24 and that the Chilean Government had likewise had its attention called to this matter as long ago as the middle of March.

The two Ambassadors had nothing new to say in rejoinder and simply went over the same ground again.

The Chilean Ambassador asked the Secretary-General if the Brazilian answer constituted definite refusal to which the Secretary-General replied that it was a definite refusal to participate under the present conditions.

The Bolivian Minister in lamenting the misunderstanding said that this proposed mediation was doomed to complete failure if Brazil were not represented and he saw no reason why the mistake could not be cleared up by written declarations from the Governments of Chile and Argentina. The Ambassadors of those two countries concurred.

The formal meeting then terminated but the participants remained in conversation but mostly going over the same ground. On one point, however, developed during the informal conversations, was that the Uruguayan Ambassador expressed his inability to understand why his Government had not been included in the political as well as in the economic conference.

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As I was leaving the Secretary-General confirmed the statement made to me yesterday by the Foreign Minister that the Brazilian Government considers the door left open by this answer, saying that he thought of course the answer only constituted the first step in many further exchanges of notes. I shall seek a better opportunity tomorrow to ask him just how he interprets the last paragraph of the answer and how he expects it to be interpreted by the other interested Governments.

The Brazilian Government does not intend to publish the text of the answer.