The Minister in Paraguay (Frost) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 26.]
Sir: I have the honor to report that the Paraguayan Minister of Public Works, Captain Ramón Martino, has made inquiries recently both upon myself and Mr. P. Frank Stratton, Manager of R. W. Hebard & Company, respecting the conclusion of definite arrangements with the Export-Import Bank in accordance with the latter’s proposals outlined in the Department’s telegram No. 62 of July 23, 1941, 4 p.m. Señor Martino is of the opinion that the river port works can be carried out under the supervision of Mr. A. R. Mesa, the American engineer sent to Asunción by R. W. Hebard & Company for that purpose, without interfering with the continuance of the present highway project. He also expressed himself as feeling that the construction of feeder roads is just now of greater importance than the prompt execution of the port works projects.
From a policy standpoint it is desirable that the program of economic cooperation with Paraguay be advanced as rapidly as possible. As has previously been reported, the plans which are now probably about to mature for supplying Paraguay with certain supplies, and for enlarging aviation facilities, are of rather secondary interest to the non-military members of the Cabinet; and the latter will have an influence over hemispheric defense collaboration. Thus while it may be necessary to defer actual work on the improvement of the river ports until next spring or summer it is desirable that the agreements respecting this work, as well as respecting feeder roads and agricultural assistance, be brought to an early conclusion. The Export-Import Bank’s expeditious attention to the matter is respectfully solicited.