724.34119/556: Telegram

The Chargé in Argentina (Cox) to the Secretary of State

169. From Braden. My 159, August 12, 2 p.m.

I. Neutral delegates have agreed with the approval of both ex-belligerent delegations to sign on August 21st a conference resolution comprehending terms outlined in my 157, August 7, 9 p.m. paragraph No. 1 (a) and (b) and to deliver money to Paraguayan Government probably on August 22nd or 24th. The two subcommissions referred to will continue activities for such time as the Conference may deem prudent.

II. Also on August 21st the following identic notes signed by Saavedra Lamas, President of the Peace Conference, will be delivered to each of ex-belligerent delegations:

“Honorable Delegate of Paraguay (or Bolivia): I have the honor to advise you, and through you the Government which Your Excellency represents, that the Peace Conference in the session held on August 20, 1936, in the presence of the delegates of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, United States of America, Peru and Uruguay, under the Presidency of His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Argentine Republic, Dr. Carlos Saavedra Lamas, resolved in accordance with the dispositions of articles I, II and III of the January 22[21], 1936 protocolized act, to reassume the police functions and control which pertain to it within the lines of separation between the armies drawn by the Neutral Military Commission and which are accorded it by the June 12 protocol and the afore-cited act.

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“The Peace Conference, upon adopting this resolution, had no other purpose than to avoid any misunderstanding between Paraguayans and Bolivians which might prejudice the cordial atmosphere maintained until now and which must be consolidated in the future with the desired definitive solution of the fundamental question which still separates them.

“We have addressed to our observers in the Chaco the instructions within which they should orient their conduct and which were approved unanimously by this Conference in accordance with the communication made to Your Excellency by note of August 5.

“We trust your Government will find this resolution inspired in noble and elevated sentiments.

“Opportunely and in accord with the respective military commands the regulations of the observers’ functions will be completed.

“Will that Government please give the necessary instructions for the police forces of Paraguay (or Bolivia) to place themselves under the orders of our military observers?”

III. Both the Paraguayan Government and delegation have agreed to a renewal of diplomatic relations.40 The Bolivian delegate likewise agrees and expects to receive his Government’s telegraphic approval shortly; therefore, we hope that probably upon Finot’s41 arrival, but before Saavedra Lamas’ departure, both ex-belligerents will sign a Conference act witnessed by the mediators declaring diplomatic relations renewed and agreeing to accredit their respective ministers plenipotentiary without further delay (text of this Conference act is enclosure 6 to my despatch No. 236 airmailed August 14 [13?]).42 It also being understood informally that the ex-belligerents’ Presidents immediately after signature of the aforesaid Conference act will exchange cordial telegrams referring to this act and testifying to the fact that diplomatic relations have been reestablished. Furthermore, it is understood that ministers plenipotentiary probably will not be accredited for another 2 to 3 months, that is to say, after Saavedra Lamas’ return from Europe and I hope prior to Inter-American Peace Conference.

IV. I am dissatisfied with the action outlined under paragraph II above because:

It does not have the concurrence of the Paraguayans who interpret article II (d) of June 12 protocol as limiting Conference control to “the lines of separation” and not as including the zone between these lines, the latter being the interpretation given this clause by the mediators and Bolivia;
It leaves an opening for the Paraguayans to present objections involving lengthy discussions of the Conference authority under the [Page 60] protocols to control the policing of the area within the lines of separation and especially of the Villa Montes Road;
Also it leaves pending matters referred to in my telegram No. 157 of August 7, 9 p.m., paragraph 1 (c), (2), (3) and (4) and paragraph 2 first sentence;
The non-adjustment of the questions under (c) above might lead to some incident or serious disagreement entailing a rupture of diplomatic relations.

V. However, I believe any rupture may be avoided by due Conference precaution and the delay in accrediting ministers plenipotentiary. Furthermore, the atmosphere surrounding our negotiations should be improved by this renewal of diplomatic relations, also except for Rodriques Alves, my colleagues believe that Paraguay in practice will place their police under Conference control thus largely minimizing the danger of some incident occurring along the Villa Montes Road. In any event, the above described resolutions and with [resolutions offer?] the best solution which could be obtained at this time after lengthy discussions, particularly in the face of (a) Saavedra Lamas’ anxiety to have resolved before his departure the termination of repatriation, the renewal of diplomatic relations and the control between the lines of separation even in this incomplete and unsatisfactory form; (b) the intransigeance… of Ramírez; (c) Finot’s impending arrival and (d) Bolivian objections to procedure outlined in first paragraph this telegram unless control of policing within the lines of separation were reassumed by the Conference. [Braden.]

  1. See The Chaco Peace Conference, p. 104; or La Conferencia de Paz del Chaco, p. 294.
  2. Enrique Finot, Bolivian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  3. Not printed.