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Paraguay



     My memo on C-Span's program on Rutherford B. Hayes and the War of the Triple Alliance elicited this report from Tim Brown:
     While assigned to the US Embassy in Asuncion, I visited Villa Hayes, then a dusty, end-of-the trail sort of place onthe northern bank of the Paraguay river up-stream from Asuncion, reachable by boat or ferry only (no bridge) several times. It is the capital of Rutherford B. Hayes province, and both were named in Hayes' honor after he decided a territorial dispute between Argentina and Paraguay in Paraguay's favor. Most of Hayes province is made up of the territory he awarded to Paraguay. The municipality's prized possesion was one of the original copies of the arbitration decision, but it was in bad shape. On one occasion I made a special trip with then US Ambassador George Landau, to Villa Hayes, having arranged to bring it back to Asuncion and sent it to Washington where the National Archives promised to restore it as a gesture of friendship. Eventually restored, it was returned to Paraguay and pesented to the Foreign Ministry. But, as happens so often, the tale had a sad ending, and least for Villa Hayes. Instead of returning it to Villa Hayes, the government took the restored copy and placed it in the National Museum.
     I often wondered how many Americans or Europeans had ever heard of Rutherford B. Hayes, much less that he has a Paraguayan province and town named in his honor.
     My comment: I am sending a copy of this to Brian Lamb, asking that he forward it to the two historian experts on Hayes, who incidentally was a very decent, serious man. On a day when the press is full of stories about the "American first family", the Kennedys, one wonders why Hayes is forgotten. There ain't no justice.

Ronald Hilton - 07/19/99


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