The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Brazil (Gordon)
57. The Brazilian Ambassador yesterday showed me in strict confidence two personal cables which he had just received from President Vargas. The first cable, acknowledging the receipt of a letter which Aranha had sent by air mail urging participation by the Brazilian Government in the Chaco negotiations, expressed President Vargas’s general agreement with Aranha’s views, mentioned the fact that Vargas had received in personal audience the Argentine and Chilean Ambassadors, who had expressed the regret of their respective governments [Page 42] for the error in the omission of the name of Brazil from the countries to take part in the proposed economic conference, and stated definitely that should the Brazilian Government receive an “official rectification,” President Vargas was determined to reconsider the attitude taken by Brazil and to accept the invitation to participate in the negotiations. The cable concluded with an instruction to Aranha to advise this Government that Brazil desired to cooperate at all times with the United States in all matters of foreign policy.
The second cable, which was apparently transmitted only one hour after the despatch of the cable above referred to, stated that the President had just received his Foreign Minister, who, to President Vargas’s surprise, informed him that he had invited in the President’s name the Ministers of Bolivia and Paraguay to enter into a discussion of a peace settlement “under the auspices of the President of Brazil”. President Vargas informed Aranha that he strongly disapproved the action taken by Macedo Soares, but that in view of the situation created he did not feel able to “disavow” the move which he had made. Aranha expressed himself as being highly indignant at what he termed the ill considered step taken by his Foreign Minister and informed me that he had sent a strong cable to President Vargas in that sense.
It is evident that if this move becomes known to the Argentine and Chilean Governments, it will be interpreted as an evidence that Brazil is attempting to take over the peace negotiations herself and will create an increased state of tension between Argentina and Brazil. I hope that the invitation extended to the Bolivian and Paraguayan representatives in Rio by Dr. Macedo Soares will not become publicly known and that President Vargas may be able to let the matter drop, as he apparently desires to do. Please cable the Department of developments which may arise as the result of the step taken bearing in mind that the information above conveyed must be regarded as strictly confidential and solely for your own advice.
With the desire of relieving the situation created by the Brazilian reply to the invitation extended by Argentina and Chile, the Department some days ago informed the Argentine and Chilean Ministers of Foreign Affairs that should they so desire, it would be glad to join with Argentina and Chile and Peru in an appeal to be made simultaneously to Brazil by this Government and by the two belligerents informing Brazil that all of the Governments involved had from the outset of the present negotiations desired the participation of Brazil both in the mediation negotiations as well as in the proposed economic conference and that these Governments jointly hoped that Brazil might find it possible to collaborate in the negotiations in view of these assurances. The Chilean Government immediately accepted [Page 43] the suggestion wholeheartedly, but there has been no reply forthcoming from Argentina as yet, due possibly to the absence of Saavedra Lamas from Buenos Aires. Aranha has been informed in a general sense of this suggestion. No decision as to the exact nature of the proposed appeal to Brazil can, of course, be reached until the attitude of the Argentine Government is known.