811.001 Roosevelt Visit/139

The Ambassador in Mexico (Daniels) to the Secretary of State

No. 2934

Sir: I have the honor to report that at the regular diplomatic reception this morning the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs remarked on the fine impression made by President Roosevelt’s speech at San Diego.6 He regarded the President’s insistence on strict neutrality in the present European crisis as the keynote of the policy of all Latin America—certainly the Mexican and American viewpoints were identical in that under no circumstances should this Continent become involved.

While expressing apprehension over the European situation, Mr. Ceniceros stated that he considered that the Americas had a problem of major importance of their own in the Chaco, and that all their [Page 6] attention should be devoted to settling that before going further afield. Referring to Mexico’s consistent interest in a settlement, he recalled that Mexico had been suggested as a mediator in the Chaco dispute but the proposal had not been well received on all sides and accordingly Mexico had preferred not to participate directly.

Mr. Ceniceros went on to say that the inability to reach a settlement of the Chaco dispute would inevitably react unfavorably on the other fine proposal of President Roosevelt for an Inter-American Peace Conference, with which Mexico was heartily in sympathy. He said he understood that the Argentine was lukewarm to the suggestion and that because of this and the disturbed outlook for the Chaco President Roosevelt had deferred issuing formal invitations to the Peace Conference.

As I knew nothing about these developments, I was unable to supply any information. However, in answer to my question why the Argentine had adopted a reluctant attitude, Mr. Ceniceros said that Doctor Saavedra Lamas would never become enthusiastic over someone else’s idea.

It is my impression from the conversation that Mr. Ceniceros has in mind the desirability of taking advantage of the anti-war feeling on this Continent to push at this time the idea of an Inter-American Peace Conference, but feels that we must first put our own house in order as regards the Chaco.

Respectfully yours,

Josephus Daniels

[See also the following telegrams (printed in the section entitled “The Chaco Dispute Between Bolivia and Paraguay: Chaco Peace Conference”): From the Ambassador in Argentina: No. 164, August 3, midnight, page 111 (paragraph 11, page 113); No. 244, October 12, 4 p.m., page 160; No. 247, October 18, 6 p.m., page 165; and to the Ambassador in Argentina: No. 144, October 17, 4 p.m., page 163; No. 158, November 11, 6 p.m., page 178.]

  1. Delivered at the Stadium at San Diego, Calif., Wednesday afternoon, October 2, 1935; Department of State, Press Releases, October 12, 1935, p. 261.