724.3415/4823: Telegram

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

76. Your 113, May 2, 2 p.m. and 115, May 2, 7 p.m.27 Aranha28 this morning read to me29 the message he had received from his Government referred to in the last paragraph of your cable first above mentioned. The message was in the nature of an explanation of the position taken by Brazil after her original refusal to participate in the Chaco negotiations and a summary of the communications exchanged between the Brazilian Foreign Office and the Governments of Bolivia and Paraguay. At the end of the message, the intimation was clearly conveyed that the Brazilian Foreign Minister30 desired to have the support of this Government for a proposal that preliminary conversations be held between the Foreign Ministers of Paraguay and Bolivia in the presence of the representatives of the mediating powers and that thereafter, should these conversations result in an agreement for cessation of hostilities, the President of Argentina should invite the nations concerned to designate representatives to undertake the definitive peace negotiations in general accordance with the League recommendations. No specific mention, however, was made that the seat of the preliminary conversations should be Rio de Janeiro rather than Buenos Aires.

Aranha is vigorously opposed to the taking of any initiative at the present moment by the Brazilian Foreign Minister and as emphatically opposed to the holding of any preliminary conversations in Rio de Janeiro. He stated that he would immediately communicate to his [Page 47] Government his own recommendations in the matter and urge that Brazil send at once a special representative to take part in conciliation discussions in Buenos Aires and that this representative of the Brazilian Government should limit himself during the early sessions to urging the inclusion of Uruguay in the negotiations and to making such other suggestions as might be necessary in order to facilitate the course of the negotiations.

I31 stated to Aranha that this Government had, of course, both in its reply to the League recommendations and in its reply extended to Argentina and Chile accepted in principle the idea of sending a representative to peace negotiations to be held in Buenos Aires and that, consequently, it would be difficult for this Government to reverse its attitude unless it were informed that all of the other participating governments desired that preliminary conversations be held in Bio de Janeiro. I further stated that I could not see how any clear line could be drawn between preliminary conversations and the proposed peace negotiations as planned in the bases which had been submitted to this Government by Argentina and Chile and that I feared that if a proposal were officially made for a change of scene in the holding of the preliminary conversations, considerable discussion would ensue and some bad feeling might result. Since Aranha made it plain that the message from his Government was not to be construed as an invitation, I emphasized that the attitude of this Government was that it would be glad to take such action in the matter as might be desired by the other Governments participating, but that it did not feel called upon for the reasons above mentioned to take any initiative therein.

I further stated to Aranha that this Government would be glad to support the proposal of Brazil in the first conversations which might be had that Uruguay be invited to participate in the negotiations, but that, of course, this Government could express no opinion as to its own participation in the proposed economic conference although it appreciated deeply the friendly attitude shown by Brazil in insisting that the United States be invited to take part in that conference.

In your conversations with the Minister for Foreign Affairs you may be guided by the above, although for obvious reasons, it would be desirable for you not to refer to the personal opinions expressed by Aranha, who, I understand, is going to communicate directly with the President of Brazil in the matter.

The Department will advise you of any information which may be received from the Argentine and Chilean Governments with regard to the subject of the suggested preliminary conversations between the Foreign Ministers of the belligerent nations.

  1. Latter not printed.
  2. Oswaldo Aranha, Brazilian Ambassador in the United States.
  3. Apparently to Assistant Secretary of State Sumner Welles, by whom this telegram was drafted and initialed.
  4. José Carlos Macedo Soares.
  5. Apparently Mr. Welles.