724.34119/1272: Telegram

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

72. From Braden. My 69, March 25, 8 [9] p.m. Unyielding attitude of Bolivian delegate on Friday, which he confirmed on Saturday, was due, in addition to Elio activities, to counsel given him by the Brazilian delegate that a display of intransigence now would force Argentina to bring greater pressure on Paraguay. I had advised the Brazilian delegate against giving such advice since we are receiving whole-hearted co-operation of President of the Argentine Republic and Minister for Foreign Affairs ad interim. Yesterday Brazilian delegate promised to reverse his advice to Bolivian delegate.

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Rodriguez Alves and the rest of us are pretty well satisfied that in final analysis Bolivian delegate will accept frontier starting at some point between D’Orbigny and Ballivian; thence along meridian at foot of Ibibobo hills to approximately intermediary line; thence to Ravelo; thence to mouth of Otuquis. It will be noted therefore that there are really only three principal neuralgic points to be settled: (1) at what point frontier should start on Pilcomayo River between D’Orbigny and Ballivian; (2) whether or not it touches the Parapiti; (3) whether it terminates at mouth of Otuquis or give Bolivia Puerto Caballo.

At committee meeting this morning in view of strong stand taken by Alvarado and me, all delegates except Peruvian agreed trips should be started this week. The latter finally agreed but said his Government probably would oppose Cisneros or himself visiting La Paz since if a Peruvian were to put pressure on Bolivia it might prejudice relations between those two neighbors. It was therefore decided that I should go to La Paz if possible accompanied by an Uruguayan delegate, preferably Manini Rios, and Chilean and Peruvian to Asunción. By going to both ex-belligerent capitals simultaneously we remove danger of Paraguayans claiming we came to them with a Bolivian formula (which they might allege if visit were made to La Paz first). Both ex-belligerent delegations have expressed their hearty approval of trips.

Groups going to Asunción would endeavor to obtain line as far as possible to east and south and if it is possible Puerto Caballo in exchange for cash. Delegates in La Paz would aim for frontier as far as possible to west and north. In view of positions of ex-belligerent delegations developed during last fortnight, it seems reasonable to expect that intensive efforts on these trips should at least bring parties sufficiently close together so that with full pressure of all the mediatory governments, the ex-belligerents would not dare face the consequences of refusing the final proposal of the elevation for frontier.

Alvarado declared he informs President of the Argentine Republic of each day’s developments, the latter is extremely anxious to get final treaty, desires Conference to push on actively not awaiting Cantilo arrival (in fact the latter approves of all steps taken) so that when he reaches Buenos Aires on April 15, either final treaty will be ready for signature or situation so clearly defined that course for mediators to pursue can be readily determined and heartily approves the stand regarding triangle taken by Brazilian delegate reported in my telegram 66, March 24, 7 p.m.

Alvarado further declared that if Paraguay continues stubborn, President of the Argentine Republic desires six neutral countries as a unit to put utmost pressure on that Government and to warn it that [Page 103] nonacceptance of final Conference proposal would be taken as “an almost unfriendly act”. Brazilian delegate pledged his country’s strongest support to this policy. Argentine delegates also propose warning Paraguayans that in the event of renewed hostilities Argentina and Uruguay will refuse aid and will prevent all munition shipment including transfer to Paraguayan vessels in their respective harbors.

Justo’s confidential secretary told junior Paraguayan delegate Saturday night that the General is fed up with Paraguayan unreasonableness and it is high time to stop it and accept very satisfactory settlement now possible.

Brazilian Minister for Foreign Affairs requested Rodriguez Alves’ presence in Rio during Cantilo stay there but he cannot leave Buenos Aires because of wife’s illness. Yesterday he read to me two despatches urging Brazilian Minister for Foreign Affairs to convince Argentine Minister for Foreign Affairs now is time to strike, that not getting direct agreement will mean failure of Conference, of arbitral and legal processes on this continent and of American peace system since ultimate alternative to direct agreement is another war.

In order that I may be able to leave on short notice for Bolivia, returning here if necessary to go to Asunción, it is respectfully suggested that the Department authorize the expenditure of $350 for travel by plane and that the Legation at La Paz be requested to give me such clerical assistance as I may require.

In response urgent request for their presence, Uruguayan delegates telephoned they could be here probably Wednesday morning. Hence final decision on trips will have to wait until then. I would appreciate receiving before that time the Department’s comments on the position I have taken during recent negotiations.

Has the Department made any suggestion to Peru with regard to having Cisneros accompany me to La Paz. [Braden.]