710. Consultation 4/9–1047

The Ambassador in Bolivia (Flack) to the Secretary of State

No. 1706

Sir: I have the honor to enclose a single copy of a clipping of a press interview of Foreign Minister Luís Fernando Guachalla, head of the Bolivian delegation to the Rio Conference, upon his return to La Paz. Pertinent parts of the interview are quoted below in translation.

Regarding the Conference as a whole, Foreign Minister Guachalla made the following statement:

“It is paradoxical that America has had to resort to a treaty of this nature to preserve its peaceful relations with the rest of the world and between the peoples of the hemisphere. To attain this result there has been signed a political instrument of collective defense based on solidarity against aggression. In reality this result should have been attained by means of a solid juridical structure within which, as something [Page 81] adjective [sic], should figure the defense chapter. I believe that the Bogotá Conference should have preceded, for the reasons noted above, that of Rio de Janeiro.”

Regarding the coming Bogotá Conference, Foreign Minister Guachalla had the following to say:

“In Bogotá an effort will be made to coordinate in a principal juridical body, subject to submission for approval by the parliaments of the various nations, the many declarations, recommendations, and resolutions that make up the American international tradition. Within this, which is already known as the Constituent Charter of America, the results which were arrived at in Rio de Janeiro will form only one chapter and not necessarily the most important.”

Regarding the subject of economic aggression fostered by Cuba, Foreign Minister Guachalla stated:

“The Cuban delegation made reference to this subject in the speech of its representative. Sr. Guillermo Belt. It did not reach the point of making a concrete proposal, limiting itself to asking whether it was opportune to refer to this subject. Bolivia, with four other nations, voted in favor since it considered that the Conference could not avoid taking cognizance of a subject the importance of which will become evident in Bogotá and in all international meetings.”

Regarding the proposed convocation of a special economic conference, Foreign Minister Guachalla’s comment was the following:

“Bolivia was one of the first nations that in prior consultations indicated the necessity for studying the economic problems of the defense of the continent. I remember press declarations of mine and even favorable comments made in some newspapers here. All this much before the trip.

“Upon arriving at Rio de Janeiro we Foreign Ministers of Mexico, Colombia and Bolivia got together on the subject and agreed on the advisability of making a proposal in that respect. The Argentine delegate touched on the subject in his speech, after the Foreign Minister of Mexico already had done so. Argentina did not make any proposal in the matter. The only ones (proposals) which were presented were those of Mexico, Bolivia and Colombia to which eleven countries later adhered, among them Argentina. The United States, in spite of having turned down the question in principle, ended by accepting it. This result cannot be attributed personally to any of the delegations, it is a product of a unanimous worry of all the countries of the continent; a preoccupation for urgent and preemptory problems.”

The subject of the Rio Conference has received scant press attention since urgent domestic problems, including economic and political developments culminating in a cabinet crisis immediately following the termination of the Rio Conference, have occupied fully public attention.

Respectfully yours,

Joseph Flack