824.00/498: Telegram

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

35. During the past week there have been several demonstrations of the Nationalist Party in favor of Siles and his reelection. They have been fairly orderly although the windows of Saavedra’s house have been broken. There have been smaller counter-demonstrations, during one of which the headquarters of the Nationalist Party were [Page 419] destroyed. For not controlling the latter, the Chief of Police and his assistant have been transferred to the provinces.

An official report this morning announces that Villazon on the Argentine frontier was attacked yesterday by Communists but that the situation is well under control. There is much Communist activity at present particularly among unemployed miners in the Oruro district. Headquarters are said to be in Montevideo.

The Minister of the Interior and Justice Department has resigned and his position filled by Lieutenant Colonel Toro, formerly Minister of Public Works and Communications. Colonel Banzer, previously Minister of Agriculture, has taken the position left vacant by Toro thus giving the Army possession of the two most important Cabinet positions for controlling elections. Ezekiel Romecin has been made Minister of Agriculture.