824.6363 ST 2/126a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Bolivia (Norweb)

14. I have been increasingly disturbed by the situation which is developing with regard to the seizure of the Standard Oil properties and in particular by the information you have telegraphed the Department as to the attitude recently displayed by the Bolivian Government and by Dr. Finot himself which would seem to indicate that the Bolivian Government has no present intention of reaching a fair adjudication of the equities involved in this case, whatever these equities may in fact be.

Consequently, I desire to address a personal message to Dr. Finot which I transmit herewith. Please read this message to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and should he so request, but only in such event, you may leave with him a written copy of this message marked “Personal and confidential: Memorandum of a personal message addressed by the Secretary of State of the United States of America to His Excellency the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bolivia”. Please telegraph me such reply or comment as Dr. Finot may make to you upon receipt of this message.

The text of the message you are instructed to deliver is as follows:

“Because of the close and friendly association I have been privileged to have with Dr. Finot, both during the period of his service as Minister of Bolivia in Washington and more recently when he played so distinguished a part in the Conference at Buenos Aires,38 and because of the high regard I have come to have for him as one of the outstanding statesmen of this continent, I feel warranted in sending him this personal message. I am sure Dr. Finot will comprehend that this message is not to be construed as an official communication from one government to another, but solely as an expression of my personal concern by reason of the existence of a situation which may prejudice [Page 285] the steady growth of that confidence on the part of all of the peoples of the American republics one towards the other, to the value of which I know Dr. Finot, like myself, attaches the greatest importance.

During these recent years the “good neighbor” policy, as an inter-American policy, has made tremendous strides. It has no more able and consistent advocate than Dr. Finot. It contemplates, of course, a general friendliness, complete faith of governments and peoples in each other, and a wholehearted disposition to cooperate each with the other for the promotion of their mutual interests and mutual welfare. One of its foundations must, of course, at all times be the recognition and the practice of fair dealing and fair play on the part of governments and peoples towards each other. This policy of equity and reasonable and just treatment cannot by its very nature be a one-sided policy. It must in its very essence have a reciprocal character, if the peoples of the New World are to progress steadily towards a higher level of international relationships.

The series of acts which have recently been undertaken by the Bolivian Government, involving certain properties of the Standard Oil Company of Bolivia—a company owned by the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey of the United States of America—have created the very widespread impression in the United States and in other parts of this continent that the Government of Bolivia has given no overt indication of any intention on its part to compensate the owners of these properties for their seizure by the Government of Bolivia, nor that the Government of Bolivia has manifested any disposition to arbitrate, or otherwise adjudicate, any rights or equities which may be involved.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It is hardly necessary for me to add that the existence of these conditions are personally very distressing to me because of my confidence that both the Government of Bolivia and Dr. Finot personally are as anxious as we are in Washington to dispel any misunderstandings which today exist which would prejudice in any manner mutual confidence between our two peoples and between our two governments. I expressly refrain from dealing at this time with any questions of fact or law, but I do very earnestly desire to urge upon Dr. Finot the expression of my sincere hope that steps may be taken by the Bolivian Government at an early opportunity to make it clear that that Government has every intention of offering just and equitable compensation for the properties owned by nationals of the United States which may have been seized by the Bolivian authorities, or, failing an agreement between these nationals of the United States and the Government of Bolivia upon the form and amount of such compensation, that it will agree upon some method of adjudication of the rights and equities inherent.

In conclusion, Dr. Finot may be assured that I shall be happy in every appropriate and possible manner to cooperate with him with the hope that through negotiations, conducted in a spirit of friendship and fair dealing, between the Government of Bolivia and these nationals of the United States a fair and equitable settlement may be found.”