724.34119/1317: Telegram

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

96. From Braden. My 95, April 20, 4 p.m. Conversation with Argentine Minister for Foreign Affairs convinces my colleagues and me that he is almost completely ignorant of the Chaco problem, is handicapped by pre-conceptions and perhaps by suggestions from Saavedra Lamas and the latter’s satellites within Ministry. He fears failure and is therefore reluctant to take strong stand through admitting the Conference must not [now?] make final proposal. We told him his idea of resorting to treaty on good offices and mediation should not even be considered. He spoke vaguely of further explorations in the two countries and said he wished before presenting it to obtain indications from parties that our final proposal would be accepted.

I would regard the situation as extremely serious were it not that all my colleagues and Alvarado agree with me that ideas of Argentine Minister for Foreign Affairs would be disastrous. We are trying to arrange long meeting with him to review situation thoroughly and express our absolute conviction program as laid down in recent Conference meetings is the only one which can now be followed and that our respective Governments are united in insisting upon it. Alvarado assures me that President of the Republic approves our entire program including frontier to be proposed and will ask the President to give Minister for Foreign Affairs definite instructions to follow it. Also there is some hope that during the week’s absence in Chile of the Argentine Minister for Foreign Affairs Alvarado may again serve ad interim and the situation galvanized under his chairmanship.

Junior Paraguayan delegate promises me his country’s proposals will be made to the Conference immediately after Zubizarreta’s arrival here Wednesday. Alvarado and all my other colleagues agree that [Page 113] simultaneously with the probable rejection of Paraguayan formulae the Conference must request presence here of ex-belligerent Ministers for Foreign Affairs to receive our definitive proposal. [Braden.]