Memorandum by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Latin American Affairs (McGurk)

Conversation: The Brazilian Ambassador2
Mr. Phillips3
Mr. McGurk

The Brazilian Ambassador stated that he had been instructed by his Government to inform us of the receipt of a request from the [Page 8] Chilean Government to support the efforts of the recent secret mission agreed upon and sent out by Argentina and Chile to Asunción and La Paz to endeavor to effect a reconciliation of the views of Paraguay and Bolivia, so that the sanctions of the League which will become effective on or after the 24th of this month would be averted. The Ambassador stated, reading from a telegram received apparently from his Government, that Paraguay had replied giving certain conditions, among which were an immediate armistice and the withdrawal of troops to certain definite lines, the settlement of the fundamental question on a basis of limits and not as a territorial question, and the appointment of a commission to fix responsibility for the war. The Ambassador stated that undoubtedly the request from Chile had been prompted by Saavedra Lamas,4 who now found himself in a very tight position inasmuch as he was a member of the League and at the same time involved with Paraguay, and would use every endeavor to avert the sanctions being imposed so that his Government would not take part in the sanctions. The Ambassador went on to say that heretofore our attitude had been practically similar to that of Brazil with respect to participation in the League’s action and that until such time as the League had definitely stepped out of the picture and the matter again placed in the hands of the American states including the U. S., his Government did not feel that it could take any further part, and that his Government had so replied to the Chilean Government. The Ambassador added that he would be pleased to know what our attitude would be, or should we care to do so to make known our attitude to the Brazilian Government through our Embassy in Rio.

J. F. McGurk
  1. Oswaldo Aranha.
  2. William Phillips, Under Secretary of State.
  3. Carlos Saavedra Lamas, Argentine Minister for Foreign Affairs.