500. Memorandum of a Conversation, Embassy Residence, Panama City, July 23, 19561


  • The President2
  • The Secretary of State
  • Dr. Milton Eisenhower
  • Asst. Secy. Holland
  • Mr. Bernbaum
  • Lt. Col. Walters
  • President Alfredo Stroessner
  • Under Secy. of Foreign Affairs?

President Stroessner opened the conversation by saying he was happy to be received by the President and delighted to see him in good health despite his recent operation. He said he would not take up the President’s time with a long detailed statement of Paraguayan problems. He would present a memorandum which would set out the principal points regarding Paraguay’s position in national affairs.3 [Page 1011] He would be grateful if the President could read this at his convenience. He was also submitting a copy to Assistant Secretary Holland, who was very familiar with Paraguayan problems.

He said that his country was now seeking the conquests of peace; it had fought two terrible wars, one lasting five years against Argentina and Uruguay4 and the Chaco War of 1931-1935. He said that in the Peace Treaty which put an end to the Chaco War, it had been indicated that Bolivia and Paraguay would be treated on a basis of parity. He added smilingly that now being a good neighbor of Bolivia they had some idea of the aid Bolivia was receiving. President Eisenhower then mentioned that Bolivia had several acute problems. President Stroessner acknowledged this but said he would still like to see parity in assistance, as Paraguay had several special problems also. She was an entirely land-locked country without access to the sea or coastline. In reply to a question by the President, he said that his country had a river port on the River Paraguay but this was not the same as a seaport and that the lack of a merchant marine was a great handicap to Paraguay.

President Stroessner said that he hoped there would not be a Third World War, but if there were, Paraguay would do her share anywhere in the world, contributing as always her men and spirit. Paraguay, said President Stroessner, has two great resources—the Paraguayans and the land. He wished to add one more word and that was to assure the President that Paraguay was one-hundred per cent anti-communist and would continue to be so. He said that in respect of parity with Bolivia, he wished the President to know that he was speaking as a younger brother to an older one.

Finally, President Stroessner said he wished to express his thanks for the technical assistance program with which Mr. Holland was very familiar. This assistance had been of great help in the fields of health, education and agriculture. He likewise wished to express his gratitude for the splendid work done by the U.S. Army and Air Force missions in Paraguay.

The President said he was grateful to President Stroessner for this expression, and the two Presidents then went to the door of the Embassy Residence where pictures were taken, following which President Stroessner took leave of the President and departed.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, International File. Secret. No drafting officer is indicated on the source text.
  2. Eisenhower was in Panama City for the Meeting of the Presidents of the American Republics, July 21–22, 1956. For documentation on this subject, see vol. VI, Documents 109 ff.
  3. The document, entitled “Memorandum from the President of the Republic of Paraguay, Major General Alfredo Stroessner to the President of the United States of America, General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, Confirming the Conversation Held in the City of Panama,” described Paraguay’s position in the world political situation as “one of open and decided support of the United States of America” in international relations and in its struggle against international Communism. It stated that the way to combat Communism was “by solving the problems and raising the standards of living of the peoples.” It explained the efforts of Paraguay to attain its economic independence, and described the Paraguayan economic development program. (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, International File)
  4. Reference is to the War of the Triple Alliance of 1865–1870 between Paraguay and the allied states of Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay.