724.34119/1088: Telegram

The Ambassador in Argentina (Weddell) to the Secretary of State

205. From Braden for the Under Secretary. Your 98, October 26, 2 p.m. I agree entirely with your first paragraph which is precisely [Page 30]procedure I have urged Conference to adopt. As a result of my motion and alarmed by the Paraguayan note the Argentine Minister for Foreign Affairs appointed Ruíz Moreno the Brazilian delegate, the Peruvian Ambassador and myself as a committee to obtain from the Paraguayan delegation chairman a satisfactory project implementing the non-aggression pact. The latter has promised us to present today his proposition as approved by his Government. The committee warned him (a) as per last sentence of first paragraph my telegram No. 193, October 7, 5 p.m., and (b) that conditions soon would be further aggravated since in view of the non-existence of regulations the Peruvian Ambassador had stopped his military observer from going to the Chaco on October 15 as scheduled and Brazil probably would do likewise November 15 thus leaving the area between the opposing armies without neutral observers. The Argentine and Brazilian members of committee added that this practically implied the withdrawal by the mediatory Governments of their moral guarantee.

With regard to the second point it may well be that even assuming optimum cooperation from S. Lamas unstable political conditions especially in Paraguay will make direct agreement impossible for some time to come, nevertheless as indicated in my despatch No. 540 air mailed October 22 [21]20 I am convinced not yet that a Chaco settlement cannot be obtained by direct negotiations. A satisfactory implementation of the non-aggression pact appears the first step in opening the way, to be followed by active negotiations here, the delegate’s trips to Bolivia and Paraguay and finally the united pressure of all six mediatory Foreign Offices. Moreover except for two short and abortive attempts during October ’35 and December ’36 there has been no discussion of the boundary question within the Conference for which omission the chairman is largely to blame. Therefore, the Conference cannot conscientiously declare direct agreement impossible until a real effort has been made to find a solution.

Protocol provides [provision?] that Conference cannot close until arbitral compromise has been concerted, might impede The Hague Court taking jurisdiction and certainly would bring strong Paraguayan objections if we attempted to submit the question without the compromise. But even granting jurisdiction were accepted and award made by the Court, Paraguay would not accept the ruling, Bolivia would try to enforce it, and Paraguayan resistance would probably lead to a renewal of war.

Even if we obtain from Paraguay an implementation of the non-aggression pact satisfactory to Bolivia the latter probably will not agree to have it continue beyond the end of the Conference unless [Page 31]assurances were given by Paraguay that the case would go to arbitration and the award [be] accepted since Bolivia fears that under the protection of a non-aggression pact supported by the mediatory powers Paraguay will endeavor to maintain indefinitely the status quo of military occupation. [Braden.]

Weddell
  1. Not printed.