The American Delegate to the Chaco Peace Conference (Braden) to the Secretary of State

No. 132

Sir: I have the honor to report that in accordance with your instructions I called on Minister of Foreign Relations Saavedra Lamas at 12 noon on the 21st instant and verbally informed him of the sense of your telegram No. 22 of February 20, 3 p.m. He expressed his appreciation of the attitude adopted by the State Department. Due to the fact that Carnival holidays (22nd to 25th inclusive) intervened, it was impossible similarly to inform other delegates until the meeting [Page 871] of the Conference Executive Committee held at 6 p.m. on the 26th instant, at which time the several neutral delegates expressed the adherence of their respective Chancelleries to the suggested program of maintaining a united front in regard to recognition of the new Paraguayan Government.

At this Executive Committee meeting Ambassador Rodrigues Alves presented a form resolution proposing that the Conference: (1) recommend recognition of the new Paraguayan Government to the six participating neutral Governments, (2) suggest to the new régime that they forthwith make a strong declaration of their intention to abide by the June 12th and January 21st Protocols, and (3) urge the appointment of new Paraguayan delegates to the Conference and members to serve on the Special Repatriation Committee. Several of the delegates favored item No. 2 but all were opposed to Nos. 1 and 3. I stated that in my opinion the new Government perhaps might be inexperienced and unacquainted with usual diplomatic procedure to be followed by a nation seeking recognition and, therefore, we properly might make a declaration which would facilitate the new Paraguayan régime’s endeavors to contact the Conference so that our deliberations could be renewed, preparations for prisoners’ repatriation be continued and the prisoners’ return initiated as soon as possible.

Minister Saavedra Lamas was opposed to any declaration being made by the Conference and called attention to press announcements that Lieutenant Colonel Recalde, a leader of the revolution, had been appointed to serve on the Special Repatriation Committee, instructed to leave for Buenos Aires immediately and also was charged with a special mission, which he—Saavedra Lamas—assumed had to do with recognition. Therefore, the Minister felt no action should be taken by the Conference until the beginning of next week when Colonel Recalde would be in Buenos Aires. After some discussion, the Conference passed the following resolution:

The Executive Committee of the Peace Conference assembled with the delegates on February 26. After considering the situation produced by the fulfillment of the Protocol of January 21 as a result of events in Paraguay, it was resolved to maintain right of actions and declarations which make it possible to continue, within the briefest possible space the functions assigned it by the said Protocol of January 21.13

Saavedra Lamas requested no publicity be given this resolution until on the 27th instant he had had an opportunity to discuss the Paraguayan situation with the ex-chief of the former Argentine Military Commission in Paraguay, Colonel Switzer. However, it was [Page 872] understood that the Executive Committee would meet again on the afternoon of the 27th instant at which time it probably would be decided informally to advise the new Paraguayan Government of this resolution. The meeting of the Executive Committee was postponed until the 28th, apparently upon orders of its President.

Respectfully yours,

Spruille Braden
  1. Translation supplied by the editors.