824.00/496: Telegram

The Chargé in Bolivia ( Hibbard ) to the Secretary of State

32. My telegram No. 31.3 I have received the following note from the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

“La Paz, May 28, 1930.

Mr. Chargé d’Affaires: The decree, copy of which I have the honor to enclose herewith, will inform you that today His Excellency, the President of the Republic, Dr. Hernando Siles, has resigned his high constitutional office and that the Cabinet (Council of Ministers) has assumed the functions of the Government.

I also have the honor to inform you that while the National Convention is being assembled, the Council of Ministers will continue the functions of the Executive power in all normality, respecting international conventions and all obligations of the state.

Requesting you to be so kind as to inform your Government of the contents of this note, I am pleased to offer you the assurance of my high consideration. Signed F. Vega.”

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Decree.

“The Council of Ministers considering:

That the President of the Republic, Dr. Hernando Siles, basing his opinion on the grave condition of the state and desiring to consolidate the institutionary of the country, has resigned today irrevocably his high office, thus preventing himself from intervening in the solution of the political problem raised by parliamentary and popular manifestations soliciting his continuance in the Government;

That it is necessary to normalize the institutional progress of the Republic, giving the Nation the possibility of resolving its own problems by itself with high civic spirit;

That the majority of the Nation has manifested the urgent necessity of proceeding with the constitutional reform for which it is indispensable to have recourse to the popular will, fountainhead of sovereignty;

That the ordinary National Congress is not endowed with sufficient power to resolve the existing problems nor to fix the standard conducive to the normalization of the institutional life of the Republic;

That the public administration cannot remain unattended without producing grave disorder and jeopardizing the stability of the Nation;

That the merely transitory functions imposed upon the Council of Ministers, by the exceptional circumstances of the present time, should last only for the time strictly necessary to consult the desire of the country, meanwhile [directing] the administration and fulfilling the external obligations which the Republic has incurred,

Decrees:

  • Article 1. The Council of Ministers assumes the functions of the Executive power.
  • Article 2. The conventional elections are convoked for Sunday, June 29th, next, for the purpose of electing Senators and Deputies in the entire Republic, who will jointly constitute the National Convention.
  • Article 3. The National Convention will begin its functions on July 28 of this year, in the city of La Paz, and will proceed immediately to resolve the political problem and to consider the constitutional reforms which may be proposed. Their work finished as members of the convention, the Senators and Deputies will exercise the functions of the ordinary Legislative power until they complete their term of office.
  • Article 4. A supplementary decree will regulate the elections.

Done in the Palace of Government in the city of La Paz, this 28th day of May 1930. Signed G. Antelo Araúz, Minister [of Government] and Justice; F. Vega, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Worship (ad interim) and War; F. Mercado, Minister of Hacienda; J. Aguirre Achá, Minister of Public Instruction; Lieutenant Colonel Toro, Minister of Fomento and Communications; Colonel Banzer, Minister of Agriculture and Colonization.”

I have acknowledged the receipt of this note, stating that in accordance with the request contained therein I have informed my Government of its contents.

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This afternoon there was a meeting of the diplomatic corps to discuss what attitude should be taken toward the new Government. Three points were raised:

(1)
Whether, in view of the fact that this Government is in reality a continuation of President Siles’ administration although unconstitutional, relations should not be continued normally with the exception of treaty negotiations.
(2)
Whether if relations are continued normally this does not give tacit recognition to an unconstitutional government which might prove embarrassing later, particularly as there is a grave possibility that the power may be seized by an individual before the Constituent Assembly meets.
(3)
Whether a formal act of recognition should be made and if so to whom should it be addressed.

The consensus of opinion was that nothing should be done which would embarrass the present administration and that it was therefore desirable to have uniformity of action by all representatives. However no one was prepared to commit his Government and it was decided that each should cable for instructions. I therefore respectfully request instructions as soon as possible as there will be another meeting of the corps on Monday afternoon in view of the arrival of the new Minister for Foreign Affairs.

As far as American interests are concerned the question of recognition has importance as the bankers must decide whether they will permit this Government to draw on funds now deposited in New York for future payments on the service of the Bolivian external debt.

Hibbard
  1. Telegram in two sections.
  2. Supra.