724.3415/4897: Telegram

The Ambassador in Argentina ( Weddell ) to the Secretary of State

50. At mediation group meeting yesterday afternoon Minister for Foreign Affairs pointed out possibility that forthcoming visit of Bolivian and Paraguayan Foreign Ministers would be of short duration and that mediation group’s discussions of importance could be considered as a continuation of the exploratory conversations. The discussion turned on modifications of League plan proposed by Paraguay and Bolivia, the general sentiment being that cessation of hostilities was a primary object and that the determination of war responsibility, a Paraguayan objective to which Bolivia now agreed, was a fit subject for the Hague Tribunal.

After an extended discussion concerning procedure at meetings with the Paraguayan and Bolivian Ministers for Foreign Affairs it was agreed to invite them together for an informal noncontroversial meeting to be followed by separate meetings to sift out points upon which no disagreement exists and to ascertain if possible the minimum requirements on controversial issues. If progress made, the latter meetings might be followed by others at which both Foreign Ministers would again be present.

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Nieto del Rio of Chilean Foreign Office who acted for Chile in obtaining Bolivian counter-proposals was present. He has privately mentioned that the Bolivian authorities wish no one who has been associated with Argentine Minister for Foreign Affairs in the previous Chaco discussions to participate in the approaching mediation efforts.

During rereading of Paraguayan and Bolivian proposed modifications Minister of Foreign Affairs again said, with regard to suggested pacts of honor, that Argentina could give only a moral guarantee but that he felt this was not a fundamental issue whereupon Nieto remarked that in his discussions at La Paz he found that Bolivians attached much importance to these pacts as a guarantee against renewal of hostilities.

I informed mediation group of Gibson’s appointment and also delivered note in accordance with the Department’s telegram No. 51 of May 20, 1 p.m.

I today called on Paraguayan Minister for Foreign Affairs with the other members of the mediation group. Bolivian Minister for Foreign Affairs arrives May 25th.