724.34119/519

The American Delegate ( Braden ) to the Secretary of State

No. 209

Sir: I have the honor to report that the last regular contingent of Bolivian prisoners will be despatched from Asunción on July 4 and will consist of 1,440 men.

The last regular contingent of Paraguayan prisoners arrived in Asunción on June 13. However, Colonel Florit, President of the Special Repatriation Commission advises us that there still remain in Bolivia 23 Paraguayan ex-prisoners. Their whereabouts is now being investigated by the Special Repatriation Commission’s Executive Committee in Bolivia.

Colonel Florit likewise informs us that a great many Bolivian prisoners recently have appeared before the Special Repatriation Commission representatives in Asunción, claiming that they hitherto had been prevented from presenting themselves for repatriation. It is Colonel Florit’s opinion, confirmed from other sources, that many more, perhaps several thousand, Bolivian prisoners still remain in Paraguay. Under the provisions of Article IV of the January 21st Protocolized Act repatriation must proceed until the “total liberation” of prisoners has been effected. Therefore all remaining prisoners must be found, concentrated in camps and repatriated unless upon arrival in Formosa they formally signify a desire to return to Paraguay.

Until recently the Paraguayan authorities have maintained that all prisoners had been brought into concentration camps. Now, however, they admit that many prisoners are either hidden or in hiding throughout the country and according to Asunción June 25 press despatch the Minister of War has ordered all prisoners to present themselves and has established certain penalties against those Paraguayans who might aid or abet in the nonappearance of Bolivian ex-prisoners. In order to insure the prompt appearance and concentration of all remaining prisoners Colonel Florit, in his capacity as President of the Special Repatriation Commission, has forwarded telegrams to the several Executive Committees of the Commission cautioning them; (1) to adhere strictly to the regulations laid down [Page 55] by the Conference respecting repatriation; (2) to make no declarations other than those provided for in the regulations, thus leaving ineffective declaration made by Executive Committee No. 4, as reported in my despatch No. 195;32 (3) to include in their reports the lists of prisoners, which were to have been presented by both Bolivian and Paraguayan authorities upon the initiation of repatriation; (4) to report upon the number of prisoners escaped; (5) to give special importance to determining the number of prisoners who remain unrepatriated; and (6) to exercise particular care to be entirely impartial in all their reports and statements, since upon these documents and findings the Peace Conference will have to base its final decision with respect to declaring repatriation completed.

Respectfully yours,

Spruille Braden
  1. Dated June 17, 1936; not printed.