724.34119/1220: Telegram

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

29. From Braden.2 The Brazilian delegate3 and I had 40–minute talk with President-elect4 this evening in substance as follows:

My colleague expressed regret Chaco had not been concluded under Justo,5 declared firm conviction final treaty could be consummated within 3 or 4 months and hoped we could count on Ortiz’ support.
I described coordinated hard work of Prisoners Committee prior to last accomplishment of Conference; i. e., January 21st protocolized act.6 Stated Conference results since then zero and present conditions if allowed to continue would inevitably bring war but success could still be attained with (a) intelligent coordinated method of work; (b) sweat; (c) above all Argentine support and cooperation.
Rodrigues Alves and I both declared peace treaty could be assured definitely and quickly if retiring Argentine President would assume Conference Chairmanship.
Ortiz said (a) he was greatly encouraged to learn of our optimism which generally checked with his own information; (b) present Minister of Foreign Affairs7 with whom both he and Justo had wide [Page 90] differences was out completely; (c) Minister of Public Works8 will take over ad interim precisely because of his friendship with Brazilian delegate and me; (d) we can count on Ortiz and Argentine Goverernment’s whole-hearted collaboration and support; (e) internal Paraguayan politics permitting peace can be forced through if Argentina insists with Paraguay that there can be no more war and that they must make peace; (f) he counts on Brazilian and United States delegates and especially requests cooperation our respective Foreign Offices and Presidents. Above all he counts on the United States of America; (g) he wishes Justo to have one week’s rest before suggesting Conference Chairmanship to him, meanwhile by telegraph he will obtain Cantilo’s9 approval to plan. (Also this delay desirable because of Saavedra.) He hopes to advise us definitely by the end of next week whether retiring President will accept Chairmanship; (h) Foreign Office staff now preparing report on Chaco for him and Cantilo.
Brazilian delegate and I assured President-elect of our Governments’ and Presidents’ unswerving interest repeating previous word sent him of our President’s enthusiasm for Justo appointment; we emphasized vital importance of strong Argentine stand vis-à-vis Paraguay.
Justo is still unaware of Ortiz–Alves plans to commandeer his services but his aide believes he will accept, but in any event Alves appointment distinctly encouraging as is President-elect’s interest and promise to bring pressure on Paraguay. Unfavorable factor is most of his information is inadequate having come from Saavedra or through those presented by the latter as for instance Finot10 instead of Alvestegui.11 [Braden.]

  1. Spruille Braden, delegate of the United States to the Chaco Peace Conference.
  2. José de Paula Rodrigues Alves.
  3. Roberto M. Ortiz, inaugurated President of Argentina, February 20.
  4. Augustin P. Justo, retiring President of Argentina.
  5. Foreign Relations, 1936, vol. v, p. 36.
  6. Carlos Saavedra Lamas.
  7. Manuel P. Alvarado.
  8. José Maria Cantilo, incoming Argentine Minister for Foreign Affairs, succeeding Carlos Saavedra Lamas.
  9. Enrique Finot.
  10. David Alvestegui, Chairman of the Bolivian delegation.