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Letter to the Provisional President of Paraguay on the Settlement of the Chaco Controversy.

May 25, 1938

His Excellency:

Dr. Felix Paiva,

Provisional President of Paraguay,

Asuncion, Paraguay

THE PEACE CONFERENCE which has been in session at Buenos Aires for almost three years in an effort to assist the Governments of Paraguay and Bolivia to reach a settlement of the Chaco controversy now presents a final proposal for a direct agreement between the two countries. That proposal represents the impartial and informed conclusions of a group of distinguished and able delegates who have participated in the negotiations over a period of three years.

There has been an exhaustive exchange of views between members of the Governments of Paraguay and Bolivia and delegates of the Conference. The proposal is based upon the results of these long negotiations, upon the inter-American principle of the settlement of international differences by peaceful means, and upon the Protocol of June 12, 1935, which was ratified by Paraguay and Bolivia under the auspices of the six mediatory governments.

In the opinion of the Government of the United States, the proposal should be acceptable to Paraguay and Bolivia because it assures peace and security to both parties, because it is just and equitable, and because it takes into consideration the national interests of both countries.

Armed conflict in the Chaco was terminated almost three years ago through the voluntary agreement between Paraguay and Bolivia as embodied in the provisions of the Protocol of June 12, 1935. There was no victor and no vanquished, although the peoples of the two countries still suffer from the inevitable misery and destruction of war. The six mediatory governments are convinced that the people of Paraguay and Bolivia want no renewal of war and are strongly in favor of a definitive settlement of the Chaco controversy. I am sure that Your Excellency is in entire accord with this will for peace, and that your Government will spare no effort to bring to bear every influence in favor of the opportunity now presented by the Conference proposal.

The Governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Uruguay and the United States have worked together energetically and loyally for three years in an effort to assist Paraguay and Bolivia to reach a direct settlement of their differences. They stand together now in unqualified support of a proposal which they believe is equitable, is in the best interests of the two parties, and, as a safeguard to peace on this hemisphere, is of vital concern to each and every one of the American republics. Under these circumstances, the Government of the United States considers it an obligation of friendship and of duty strongly to urge acceptance of the Conference proposal by the Governments of Paraguay and Bolivia.

Accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration and the expression of my sincere wishes for the well-being and happiness of the Paraguayan people.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter to the Provisional President of Paraguay on the Settlement of the Chaco Controversy. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/208866

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