The Chief of the Division of River Plate Affairs (Tewksbury) to the Ambassador in Paraguay (Warren)1

Dear Fletch: The reports from Paraguay are encouraging, and it does not appear that there is any immediate danger of armed conflict in connection with the recent change in government.

Ambassador Boettner made an informal call this morning, at which time he went to some length to explain the necessity of the replacement of Molas López by Chávez. He said, in effect, that even in 1947 Chávez was the choice of the Colorado Party for the presidential nomination but that Natalicio González had stolen the convention. He said that in effect Molas López had been installed as President in the expectation that he would act as a sort of figure head under the direction of Chávez as head of the Colorado Party.

The Ambassador stressed the fact that the present upheaval was quite different from previous changes in government and that this was clearly demonstrated by the fact that there were only two cabinet changes and that the government was in fact continuing very much as it was under Molas López. He emphasized that Chávez had general support in Paraguay and that even the “sane” leaders of the Liberal Party recognized the truly democratic ideals of Chávez and felt that many would support him in the present instance. He also referred to the fact that Molas López is free to go and come and that no military strife occurred.

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Ambassador Boettner was obviously making a strong plea for early recognition of the new government.

Prior to the visit from Ambassador Boettner, I discussed with Willard Barber2 the question of recognition of the Chávez government. I indicated to him that I felt that you agreed with me that it would be desirable to go a little slowly in recognizing the Chávez government. I told him that, in all probability, both Argentina and Brazil would rush in to recognize the new government promptly. Willard inquired if it might not be embarrassing to be lagging behind these two countries, but I explained that both countries had vital interests which made early recognition desirable. I told him that it was my opinion that you agreed that a period of waiting of two or three weeks would be desirable. In other words, it is my feeling that, if the Chávez government indicates its intention to respect its international obligations and shows that it has a reasonable degree of popular support and stability, we might well recognize the government along about October 1.

Jack Ohmans3 is rather of the opinion that we should not wait for more than a week or ten days before recognizing the new government, since he feels that the present development is almost identical to that of Frutos, and our recognition of Frutos was almost immediate. While, in principle, I favor a continuation of normal diplomatic relations with as little break as possible, I am inclined to think that a period of two to three weeks of waiting will do no harm in this instance since a far greater period was involved in the recognition of Molas López whose assumption to office, in my mind, was also almost identical to that of Frutos. Since we waited such a long time in the case of Molas López, it hardly seems logical to rush in with an immediate recognition of Chávez. I shall appreciate it if you would send your comments on this question of recognition. Up to the present time we have not had any word from the Embassy indicating that the Chávez government has informed the Mission of the change in government or requested recognition. I presume that this will be coming through within the next few days.4

. . . . . . .

Best regards.

Sincerely yours,

Howard H. Tewksbury
  1. The letter was addressed to Ambassador Warren at the Windsor Hotel in Montreal, Canada, where he was vacationing.
  2. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for American Republic Affairs.
  3. Mr. John L. Ohmans, of the Division of River Plate Affairs.
  4. Telegram 315, September 13, from Asunción, not printed, transmitted to the Department the text of a note, dated September 12, from Foreign Minister Bernardo Ocampos informing the Chargé (Randolph) of the resignation of President Molas López and his replacement as Provisional President by Federico Chávez. The note concluded by expressing the desire of the Paraguayan Government to continue the ties of friendship that traditionally united the two countries and their respective governments. (834.00/9–1349)