The American Delegate (Braden) to the Secretary of State

No. 131

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my despatch No. 112 of February 4, 1936,18 in which I explained that the Neutral Delegates to the Peace Conference had agreed that a military observer should be maintained in the vicinity of the lines of separation between Bolivian and Paraguayan occupation, and that the duty should be shared by the six mediatory nations in turn, officers being detailed for the purpose in shifts of two months each (reported in Acta No. 23 of the Peace Conference, transmitted with my despatch No. 113 of February 5, 1936);19 under the order of rotation established by lot, an American officer should undertake the duty from April 15th to June 15th. I pointed out in the despatch cited that Major John A. Weeks, Military Attaché to the Embassy in Santiago, who acted as senior member of the Neutral Military Commission, was obviously the American officer indicated for the task, but that he had recently undergone an operation. In my despatch No. 122 of February 12, 1936,18 I stated that I was awaiting definite information as to the state of Major Weeks’ health before making any recommendations as to the American officer to take up the position of observer for the April 15 to June 15 period.

I have now been informed by Mr. Theodore Scott, First Secretary of the Embassy in Santiago, who is passing through Buenos Aires en route to the United States, that Major Weeks has recovered practically entirely from his operation and by April will be in better physical condition than when he was in the Chaco last July and August.

Major Weeks, by reason of his experience on the Neutral Military Commission, has an extensive first-hand knowledge of the problems which might arise in connection with the duties of the military observer in the vicinity of the lines of separation between the two ex-belligerents, and as in addition I have confidence in his discretion and ability should any incidents occur requiring decisive action, I respectfully recommend to the Department that he be detailed as the American officer to serve as observer in the capacity and for the period mentioned (April 15th to June 15th).

The Uruguayan and Brazilian officers have made their headquarters in Yacuiba and doubtless Major Weeks would desire to do likewise. [Page 44] Should this request be approved it would be desirable for Major Weeks to have a day or two with me in which to discuss the situation; therefore he should be instructed to proceed to Yacuiba via Buenos Aires sufficiently in advance of April 15th so that he can make the proper connections.

Respectfully yours,

Spruille Braden
  1. Not printed.
  2. Despatch No. 113 not printed. Acta 23, was entitled “Conferencia de Paz. Acta No. 23, Sesión del día 22 de enero de 1936 (Acta resumida).”
  3. Not printed.