The Ambassador in Paraguay (Beaulac) to the Secretary of State
[Received August 22.]
Sir: I have the honor to report that during the recent visit to Asunción of Admiral William R. Munroe and Major General Ralph Wooten, the latter told me that the Minister of National Defense, General Vicente Machuca, who was awarded the Legion of Merit during the visit of the two American officers mentioned, had expressed a desire to visit the United States, and had said, as I recall, that he would be free to travel to the United States around October. General Wooten, in his first conversation on the subject, told me that the subject had arisen quite naturally after Admiral Munroe had asked General Machuca whether or not he had ever visited the United States.
I asked General Wooten not to give General Machuca any encouragement to think that he might be invited to visit the United States. I said that I assumed that no invitation to General Machuca would be issued without my prior consent, and that I could give no assurance at this time that I would be willing to consent to such invitation being issued.
I told General Wooten that, prior to the Mexico City Conference,10 when Foreign Minister Horacio Chiriani expected to go to Mexico City as a delegate, he expressed interest in visiting Washington. Under the Department’s instructions I had told him it would be preferable for him to visit Washington at some later date. (Please see Department’s telegram no. 20 of January 13, 1 p.m.11)[Page 1283]
I said that I might feel therefore, and the State Department might feel, that a visit to Washington by Foreign Minister Chiriani should take precedence over a visit by the Minister of National Defense, although I had no present intention of suggesting even that Foreign Minister Chiriani be invited to Washington.
Aside from the foregoing circumstance, I said that there was a definite movement in Paraguay, supported by most of the civilian members of the Cabinet and by at least a portion of the military, to constitutionalize the present Government through the holding of Congressional elections, and to restore freedom of speech in Paraguay. Opposition to these two programs came principally from certain military elements more or less close to General Machuca. Some opposition might come from General Machuca himself, although I was not sure of this.
I told General Wooten that I intended, and that I knew the State Department intended, to watch developments in Paraguay closely during the forthcoming months in order to determine whether or not the present Paraguayan Government really intended to implement the various commitments and declarations it had subscribed to at Mexico City, including those having to do with support of democracy and freedom of expression, and that our attitude toward possible visits by Paraguayan Cabinet members would undoubtedly be influenced by the extent of the effort made to implement these commitments and declarations.
I told General Wooten that I had no objection, since according to his statement to me, General Machuca had requested the invitation, to his putting the matter “into the War Department mill,” so to speak, but that I could give no assurance that I would approve a visit when the matter was presented to the Embassy.