The Chargé in Paraguay (Trueblood) to the Secretary of State
441. At 10:00 this morning Brazilian Ambassador was still without reply from President on mediation. In meantime military situation of government has apparently deteriorated considerably, with treachery, and dissension undoubtedly partly responsible. Rebels reported to be drawing closer to city from northeast and from east although no cannonading audible. Last government reserves except those in city have entered into action. If rebels succeed in getting up to city it is doubtful whether government can hold Asunción, but in any event, civilian population can expect bad going. In event rebels capture city there is real danger of chaotic conditions, opening of jails (releasing Communists), looting, reprisals, etc. Some Colorado families already fearful and asking asylum.[Page 992]
If government loses Asunción they will presumably try to concentrate their troops at some point nearby and try to retake. Advance units government First Army Corps (from north) now at Mercedes by Manduvari River. If government continues lose ground at present rate they will not arrive in time to save city.
We are worried about safety of our military planes here but reluctant to send them out of country since they may be of great value in days to come, although airfield unfortunately is in exposed position northeast of city.
Cable service may possibly be suspended if fighting reaches city. Will use Almon’s facilities in emergency.
Sent Dept 441, repeated Rio de Janeiro 110, Buenos Aires 149.