The Ambassador in Paraguay (Beaulac) to the Secretary of State

No. 2307

Sir: With reference to the Embassy’s despatch no. 2144 of September 27, 1946, subject: “Summary of recent political developments,” and supplementing its despatch no. 2302 of December 4, 1946, subject: [Page 1189] “Dismissal of government workers leads to strike of postal employees,” and to telegram no. 489 of December 5, 1946,14 I have the honor to report that relations between the Colorado and Febrerista Parties, which make up the Government coalition, in Paraguay have deteriorated to a point that both parties are criticizing each other publicly and bitterly, and continuance of the coalition is threatened.

The Febreristas accuse the Colorados of wholesale discharge of government personnel, particularly Febreristas, in Colorado ministries. The Colorados in turn make similar charges against the Febreristas and also charge them with extreme demagogy and political abuse of the opportunities given to them by control of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Department of Labor, and the Ministry of Health.

There seems to be little doubt that the Colorado Minister of Finance,15 particularly, has started what approaches a clean sweep of his Ministry and dependent offices. He, as well as the President, have alleged to me that officials who have been discharged from that Ministry were trying to sabotage the Minister’s work. He has also taken the view that surplus government employees must be released in order to permit payment of a living wage to those who remain.

The Colorados allege also that the Department of Communications which comes under the Colorado Ministry of Public Works and Communications was strongly infiltrated with Communists. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, a Febrerista, admitted to me yesterday that there were Communists in the Department of Communications. He said that he had found one in his own code room.

Most of the discharges, however, have been made for political reasons.

I took the opportunity yesterday to explain to the Minister of Foreign Affairs my gratification that the various cooperative projects in which the United States is engaged in Paraguay have escaped the purge. I expressed the hope, also, that technicians in general, would not be discharged for political reasons. I referred to our various cooperative projects and also to the numerous scholarships we had granted and were prepared to grant to Paraguayans, under proper conditions. I said that these projects and scholarships were costing the Government of the United States a considerable amount of money and could not possibly be justified if the Paraguayan Government simultaneously was going to discharge technicians from Government departments, even though they were not trained in the United States. The Minister said he quite agreed. I then requested him to convey my views to the Cabinet at today’s meeting. He said he would.

The Colorado’s charge that the Febreristas are misusing their position in the Government is of course not without foundation. The Minister [Page 1190] of Agriculture and Acting Minister of Industry and Commerce, Dr. Arnaldo Valdovinos, has used both the Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Labor for electioneering purposes. He has personally traveled throughout the countryside donating modern plows to farmers at what amounted to Febrerista Party rallies. The plows of course are paid for by the Government. It is notorious, also, that a workman or group of workmen must register in the Febrerista Party before getting any satisfaction out of the Department of Labor.

Whether the Colorados object to these Febrerista tactics on principle or because they are being used by the Febreristas with some success, it is hard to tell.

One example of Febrerista demagogy which has not yet been corrected is the Party resolution which in effect prohibits Febrerista lawyers from defending employers in disputes with labor and from defending large landholders in disputes with tenants (see Embassy’s telegrams no. 481, November 23, 1946 and no. 482, November 27, 194616). Despite the Minister of Foreign Affairs’ assurance to me that this resolution would be rescinded, it still stands. I spoke to him about it again yesterday and told him that I could not recommend any investment in Paraguay by my government or by American capital while that resolution stood and the Febreristas remained in the Government. He said that he understood this perfectly well and that the resolution was sure to be rescinded.

It is of particular interest that this anti-democratic resolution of the Febrerista Party, which might have been expected to be condemned in violent terms by other political parties, has met with little public criticism. The Colorados so far as I know have said nothing. The Liberals have criticized it only mildly. It appears evident that the other parties prefer to remain practically silent rather than oppose a measure or decision which is very partial to labor.

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Respectfully yours,

Willard L. Beaulac
  1. None printed.
  2. J. Natalicio González.
  3. Neither printed.