834.20 Missions/11–745

The Ambassador in Paraguay ( Beaulac ) to the Secretary of State

No. 1259

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Embassy’s airgram no. 286 of October 30,28 in which I reminded the Department that the Paraguayan Air Force is principally engaged in commercial aviation activities, and that our Military Aviation Mission is principally useful [Page 1294] in helping to maintain and expand those activities. I suggested that no increase in the Military Aviation Mission take place until the principle of American military assistance in the operation, by the Paraguayan Air Force, of a commercial aviation service, is settled.

In my telegram no. 535 of October 30, concerning the possibility of making available certain military equipment to Paraguay, I again referred to the commercial aviation activities of the Paraguayan Air Force.

In my despatch no. 1251 of November 5, 1945, I suggested that our military cooperation with Paraguay constituted an obstacle to the democratization of Paraguay.

In my despatches no. 1255 of November 2 and no. 1256 of November 7,29 I set forth the unsatisfactory status of the Military Aviation Mission in Paraguay and transmitted a copy of a note from the Foreign Office30 which has brought the whole question of the Mission’s status to a head.

Article 1 of the Military Aviation Mission Agreement, signed in Washington, October 27, 1943,31 says:

“The purpose of this Mission is to cooperate with the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Paraguay and with the personnel of the Paraguayan Air Force with a view to enhancing the efficiency of the Paraguayan Air Force.”

Article 4 of the Agreement says:

“This Agreement may be terminated before the expiration of the period of four years prescribed in Article 2, or before the expiration of the extension authorized in Article 3, in the following manner:

  • “(a) By either of the Governments, subject to three months’ written notice to the other Government;
  • “(b) By the recall of the entire personnel of the Mission by the Government of the United States of America in the public interest of the United States of America, without necessity of compliance with provision (a) of this Article.”

With the foregoing as background, I suggest to the Department that, in accordance with the provisions of Article 4, the Military Aviation Agreement be terminated. My suggestion is based on the following considerations:

1.
There are no present indications that the Paraguayan Armed Forces have any intention of permitting the development of democratic government in Paraguay in the predictable future. Under [Page 1295] the circumstances, I consider that our military cooperation with the present regime in Paraguay should be limited to those matters considered essential, in the case of Paraguay, to our plans for continental defense.
2.
With reference to Article 1 of the Military Aviation Mission Agreement, which makes clear that the purpose of the Mission is to enhance the efficiency of the Paraguayan Air Force, I should like to reiterate that the Paraguayan Air Force has been converted by its commander, Major Stagni, into a commercial air service. There is no real military air force in Paraguay today and it is therefore impossible, under the conditions created by the Paraguayan Government, for our Military Aviation Mission to fulfill its purpose.
In amplification of the foregoing, the Chief of the Military Aviation Mission informs me that, as of November 7, the only planes of the Paraguayan Air Force flying were the two C–45’s furnished to Paraguay under lend lease. These were engaged in commercial flying in violation of Major Stagni’s pledge to the Embassy not to use them for commercial purposes. The Paraguayan Air Force, according to the Chief of the Military Aviation Mission, has no gasoline except a small quantity of 87-octane gasoline which it purchases from time to time for cash, pending settlement of overdue accounts with the West India Oil Company. Of the various types of planes in the Paraguayan Air Force, only the C–45’s use 87-octane gasoline.
3.
Major Stagni, Commander of the Paraguayan Air Force, who cooperated with our enemies during the war, has objected to the two successive chiefs of the Military Aviation Mission. I understand that both these officers have distinguished combat records. Major Stagni, as well as the Minister of National Defense, has also objected to the present Acting Assistant Chief of the Military Aviation Mission,32 who, I also understand, has a distinguished combat record.
4.
Major Stagni has systematically misrepresented the attitude of the American Embassy toward Taca, an Aviation Company which is principally American-owned. He has used members of the Military Aviation Mission in order to support his stand against Taca, and he has resented the refusal of the Chief of the Military Aviation Mission to join him in opposing Taca. I doubt that any Chief of the Military Aviation Mission can get along with Major Stagni without showing a degree of disloyalty to his own Government.
5.
Major Stagni, in his letter to the Minister of National Defense (Enclosure no. 1 to despatch no. 1256 of November 7) made statements calculated to undermine the morale of the Military Aviation Mission, regardless of what its composition may be in the future.

Inasmuch as the Paraguayan Government, through Note No. 901 from the Foreign Office, has made it very difficult for Colonel Barthelmess to remain in Paraguay much longer, and inasmuch as the Acting Assistant Chief of the Military Aviation Mission has also been objected to by the Minister of War, and by Major Stagni, I believe that a decision as to whether we shall leave the Mission in Paraguay will have to be made in the near future. To further complicate the matter, Lieutenant Van Hyning, a third member of the Mission, [Page 1296] is to be relieved shortly, while the fourth remaining pilot, Lieutenant Over dyke, has been grounded because of his physical condition.

The Military Attaché to the Embassy, Colonel Pearson, has read the foregoing, is cognizant of the circumstances set forth in this and related despatches, and supports the suggestion that the Military Aviation Mission Agreement be terminated.

Respectfully yours,

Willard L. Beaulac
  1. Not printed.
  2. Neither printed.
  3. Not printed; in this note the Foreign Office transmitted communications from the Minister of National Defense and the Commander of the Paraguayan Air Force suggesting the recall of the Chief of the American Air Mission and the appointment in his place of a member of the Commission who had recently left Paraguay (834.20 Missions/11–745).
  4. Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 343; 57 Stat. (pt. 2) 1100.
  5. Maj. John H. Washington.