The Chargé in Paraguay ( Trueblood ) to the Secretary of State
401. Brazilian Ambassador informs me of receipt of instructions from Itamarati altering on request Argentine Government mediation formula quoted in Embtel 391, July 17, in respect that rebels will not be required deliver their arms to mediators. Each group will merely cease fighting and maintain status quo. Change is due to Argentine belief that actual turning over of arms to mediators would humiliate rebels and would also place mediators in undesirable position of having to return arms to rebels if mediation broke down. Itamarati stated Argentine Government impatient to reach accord here.[Page 990]
Barboza regrets need to re-present formula to Government here, but feels it is improvement. He will consult Arriola and see President or Chaves on this, but not until he has received reply from Rio to question raised by Government yesterday as to whether acceptance of armistice given to Negrão only represents decision of Military Junta or whether it also binds the political parties backing the Concepción movement. Judging by telegram 895, July 22,44 from Buenos Aires, the Liberals do not consider themselves so bound since they propose ouster of President as sine qua non which present formula does not of course contemplate.
Barboza saw Chaves this morning and he said latter spoke in terms reminiscent of our talk on 19th (Embtel 39444), emphasizing difficulties faced by Government to sell mediation plan to Colorado Party, fact that army in north is not National but Party army which has fought hard and is now on threshold of victory, etc. Chaves again suggested need for some kind of post-victory mediation to assist in “spiritual pacification”, pointing out problem of bringing the Colorados and Liberals together again, with numbers of Paraguayans now in exile. Barboza told him that he could not visualize the role for mediation under such circumstances.
As for US participation, Itamarati thinks Paraguayan Government should issue invitation with Chaves still favoring action by three-power group which would be accompanied by his approaching our Embassy here.
The way matters are shaping up question US participation is becoming distinctly secondary—with the Government stalling for time to give its army a chance to win a military victory and opposition apparently divided in its view toward mediation, the immediate outlook is dim. If Argentina is genuinely anxious to get this situation settled it may be able to apply some pressure on the Liberals residing within its borders in order to get all of the opposition behind the present formula. Taking into account however disparity of objectives among the opponents of the Paraguayan Government, bringing them together may be an impossible task.
In any event the prospect of getting all groups together and arranging an armistice before the Government wins in the north appears increasingly remote. When and if the Government’s victory takes place and events reported in Embtel 399, July 22,44 tying it closer the situation will then have to be reexamined to see whether mediation in some form will still be feasible.
Sent Department 401, repeated Rio 90, Buenos Aires 131.