The Minister in Bolivia ( Caldwell ) to the Secretary of State
[Received 7:30 p.m.]
12. [From Braden.] The following telegram has been sent to Buenos Aires for Haden:26
Yesterday and today we have had several informal conversations with various individuals either influential or who could give information. In general the reaction was that Bolivia was favorably disposed to a settlement even though she does not obtain a sovereign port.
First official discussion with Bolivian Minister for Foreign Affairs this morning. Meeting with President this afternoon and with entire Military Junta tomorrow morning.
In résumé we made the following statement to the Bolivian Minister for Foreign Affairs:
- Settlement must be made now for several reasons which we enumerated.
- Nothing further could be gained by trading vis-à-vis Paraguay: Instead Bolivia demonstrating complete confidence in the mediators must give us a frontier which in the last analysis they would accept and which the Conference with all its authority plus the full weight of six mediatory powers acting as a unit would exercise maximum pressure on Paraguay to accept.
- Final treaty necessarily unsatisfactory to both parties. Must give complete security against future war.
- Even granting that Bolivia could obtain unilaterally a favorable decision from the World Court, practically it would mean nothing but that Paraguay would have to be ejected from present positions by force of arms.
- Therefore Bolivia must choose between (a) security and permanent peace retaining all of the Chaco she can usefully employ and (b), insecurity and probable war.
- Bolivia to authorize mediators to accept if necessary approximately the following frontier: Meridian along eastern foot of Ibibobo [Page 107] hills from the Pilcomayo to Bolivian line of withdrawal, thence to Ravelo thence along said line to Otuquis thence to the mouth of Otuquis. Mediators will endeavor to improve upon this line.
- We outlined treaty terms including free port privileges and the great value of moral guarantee.
- We emphasized value of canalization of Pilcomayo River and outlet for Bolivia via Puerto Suarez.
The Bolivian Minister for Foreign Affairs’ position was that our proposed frontier might have been considered had it not been for the June 12 protocol,27 but since it meant the loss of practically all the Chaco neither the Government nor the people could ever accept it, and therefore he insisted as Bolivia’s maximum concession Alvestegui’s offer of March 25.28 He admitted, however, some westward withdrawal from this latter line might be possible if given Port of Bahia Negra. He categorically rejected any suggestion of even a geographical point on the Parapiti. Please request Argentine Minister for Foreign Affairs to transmit such of the foregoing as he deems advisable to Barreda,29 at the same time warning the latter that low price of tin and disastrous economic situation in Bolivia makes any monetary compensation most difficult. Also we would appreciate early advices of developments in Asunción. Braden.