Memorandum of Conversation, by the Director of the Office of American Republic Affairs (Duggan)

At the request of his Ambassador, Mr. Lobo33 came to see me. He had with him a telegram from Aranha34 requesting the Embassy to ascertain the Department’s point of view with regard to several matters relating to the Bolivian situation.

Aranha inquired whether a public statement of nonrecognition of the Bolivian regime would not have the effect of delivering Bolivia to Argentina.
To this I replied that the Secretary thought that the background and antecedents of the Bolivian revolution indicated that the Bolivian Junta and the Argentine Government were already in the closest cooperation. The recognition by Argentina of the Bolivian Junta was a clear manifestation of the relationship between the two. I remarked that there probably were some good people in the Junta who would turn to Argentina if recognition was denied but these persons did not appear to be those today in control of the Junta.
Aranha inquired what the status of our missions in La Paz would be if our Ambassadors were withdrawn as a result of declaring non-recognition. To this I said that the withdrawal of Ambassadors did not necessarily mean closing up our Embassies. They could continue to function with existing personnel, so that we would not be cutting off our sources of information in Bolivia.
Aranha asked a vague question as to the effect of nonrecognition upon international agreements with Bolivia. I replied that I did not understand this question very well but the fact of nonrecognition would have no bearing upon the validity of duly ratified treaties between Bolivia and other countries.
Aranha raised the question of whether we would not be treating Bolivia differently than Argentina unless action was also taken with respect to Argentina. I replied that there would be a difference in that we had already recognized the Argentine Government whereas we did not propose to recognize the new Bolivian Junta. I said, however, that the Secretary was now reviewing the whole Argentine picture and would probably have some ideas to communicate shortly to Aranha.
Aranha stated that Brazil could not act except after prior consultation with its neighbors—Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, and Peru. I said that our Chargé d’Affaires35 had sent in similar information. I added that the first thing to be done was for the United States and Brazil to agree as to procedure and then they could communicate with their neighbors.
  1. Fernando Lobo, Minister Counselor of the Brazilian Embassy.
  2. Oswaldo Aranha, Brazilian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  3. John F. Simmons, Counselor of Embassy in Brazil.