724.3415/4837: Telegram

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

119. Department’s 76, May 3, 8 p.m. and my 118, May 4, 1 p.m.32 I have just had a long talk with the Minister for Foreign Affairs. He says he is sending a telegram to Aranha this afternoon giving him a more detailed account than hitherto of the conversations he (the Minister) has recently had with the belligerents.

The draft of that telegram which he showed me was to the effect that after Brazil had refused the joint Argentine-Chilean invitation of April 11 [1] the Foreign Minister decided that the best way to avoid the accusation that Brazil had broken up the peace mediations was for her to prove the contrary by engaging in direct conversations with the belligerents with a view to bringing about some developments which would further rather than block the mediation efforts: he felt that direct preliminary conversations between the Foreign Ministers of the belligerents in order to formulate a solid basis for the mediation conference at Buenos Aires would constitute such a development and in proposing this to the belligerents he added the suggestion that these direct preliminary conversations be held in Rio under the auspices of President Vargas.

When telling me this today the Foreign Minister said that he regretted that he had entirely forgotten to mention this latter point either to me or to Aranha. He went on to say that now that the accusation of breaking up the conference could no longer be leveled against Brazil he had no intention of insisting on holding the preliminary conversations in Rio. In fact he told me explicitly (I wrote it down in his presence) that inasmuch as you felt that it would be inadvisable to hold these conversations in Rio he would be quite willing to have you tell the Argentine Government that you had expressed to the Brazilian Minister for Foreign Affairs the view that you thought it preferable to hold the direct preliminary conversations between the two belligerent Foreign Ministers at Buenos Aires and that he (the Brazilian Foreign Minister) had agreed.

The Minister hoped that in view of all the foregoing you would see no difficulty in joining the other Governments concerned in proposing to the Paraguayan Government that these direct preliminary conversations between the Foreign Ministers of the belligerents be held in Buenos Aires. I gather from the last sentence in paragraph 3 of your telegram under reference that you would be prepared to take such action.

[Page 49]

The Minister further said that as soon as both belligerents had formally agreed upon the direct conversations between their Foreign Ministers he hoped that Brazil and the United States might then make a further proposal to the belligerents of an immediate truce. I presume, and ventured so to reply, that this would require careful consideration.

For my own information I should appreciate being instructed as to the two assumptions I have just indulged in.

The Foreign Minister appears to feel that in suggesting these direct preliminary conversations and with the further suggestion of a truce, he will have displayed all the initiative that he intends to and that Brazil’s main object in the mediation conference will thenceforward be to harmonize her policy entirely with ours.

  1. Latter not printed.