724.3415/4933: Telegram

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

65. Your 64, June 5, 7 p.m. The Argentine Ambassador this morning communicated to the Department a long message from Dr. Saavedra Lamas indicating his fear that the mediation proceedings were likely immediately to break down. The Ambassador was requested to advise Dr. Saavedra Lamas that this Government was disposed as always to exert its utmost endeavors to facilitate the successful conclusion of the negotiations now taking place in Buenos Aires and in view of the impasse which has apparently momentarily arisen, it might be desirable for the Chairman of the Commission to suggest that a brief adjournment of the proceedings be held to permit the arrival both of Gibson and of Dr. Cruchaga who the Department is informed intends to proceed immediately to Buenos Aires. Instructions have been cabled to Gibson immediately upon his arrival in Rio de Janeiro to proceed by airplane.

So far as can be ascertained from your cable under reference and from a communication made to the Department by the Bolivian Minister by instruction of his Government, the crux of the present controversy appears to center about the amendment suggested by Bolivia for addition to Section B of Article I of the formula which, according to the Bolivian Minister, is as follows: “If the peace conference should not succeed in providing for arbitration within the period fixed, the question in all of its aspects will pass, ipso facto, to the Permanent Court of International Justice at The Hague for juridical arbitration.” The Bolivian Minister made it very clear that the other modifications to the formula reported in your number 64 are believed by Bolivia to be logical and desirable for purposes of clarification but are not fundamental.

It is of course clear, as stated in the message to the Department from Dr. Saavedra Lamas communicated through the Argentine Ambassador today, that if Bolivia insists upon pressing this amendment in the form proposed, the result would be a breakdown of the negotiations inasmuch as Paraguay from the outset of the Chaco dispute has been unwilling officially and publicly to agree to include the Hayes Zone46 within the scope of arbitration. There would consequently appear to be no means of conciliating the two divergent points of view except through an agreement on the part of both belligerents to permit the peace conference, i. e., the mediating powers, to fix the [Page 73] arbitral submission in the event that direct negotiations fail within a specified period to produce a satisfactory conclusion. In this regard the wording of Section B, Article I is not altogether clear and you are requested to cable the Department immediately whether it was the intention of the Mediation Commission in employing the final clause of Section B, Article I, as it now stands, viz., “In the latter event the case will be submitted for arbitration to the Permanent Court of International Justice at The Hague” to imply that “in the event of the” peace conference’s “failure to organize the juridical arbitration” by agreement with the belligerents, the submission to arbitration would be undertaken by the peace conference itself.

  1. For text of the Hayes award, November 12, 1878, see Foreign Relations, 1878, p. 711.