Memorandum by Mr. R. Kenneth Oakley of the Division of River Plate Affairs


Dissension within the Colorado Party—the only Party allowed to function—reached a minor crisis January 7/14 and erupted in a successful coup d’état on January 30. Education Minister Molas Lopez together with Interior Minister Rodríguez finally won in the maneuvering for the support of the Party majority (“Democratic” Colorados under Dr. Federico Chávez) and the most potent Army units. President González was forced to resign.

However, as excitement died and events became more clear in retrospect, it was apparent that the Army rather than the civilians had executed the coup and was in control of the situation.

A new government has been installed in accordance with constitutional procedures. It talks of elections within two months, also as provided by the Constitution, but there is some doubt that they will actually be held. The government is not completely military but key posts are in Army control: the Presidency; Police; the powerful Secretariat of the Presidency; Ministry of Defense; as well as the Ministry of Public Health. Our Embassy’s opinion that the Army controls the situation is confirmed confidentially by the Paraguayan Minister-Counselor1 here who adds that the Government may become entirely military. This diplomat, while he deplores such military strength, believes that the US should continue normal diplomatic relations.

Evaluation: The Army probably would say that it has acted to prevent progressive degeneration into chaos. And it might be right although [Page 750] essentially the struggle is simply for personal power without involvement of basic issues.

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  1. Cesar R. Acosta.