Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Andrew E. Donovan of the Division of the American Republics
The Bolivian Minister called to see Mr. Veatch on July 19 regarding the tin smelting question. Mr. Veatch said that he believed the Minister would be interested to know that at a recent meeting which was rather hurriedly got up and therefore other firms were not present, Mr. Jesse Jones had said that the RFC would assist the smelting companies to make possible the smelting of tin in the United States. Mr. Jones said that he would consider any concrete proposals they wished to make and that they could depend upon the assistance of the RFC.
The Minister was very interested and asked when Mr. Veatch thought it would be possible that the industry should be established. Mr. Veatch replied that things were moving quite rapidly and that their plans might be known very shortly.
Mr. Veatch then spoke of the ore supply itself and the necessity of guaranteeing a steady flow. The Minister said that arrangements could be made—either direct with the producers and the Mining Bank or if it should be necessary, the Government might declare itself sole [Page 527] exporter. He said that Patiño would probably arrive within a month and that if he should enter the business on his own basis it would again represent the British interests from which Bolivia was trying to get loose. Mr. Veatch said he had been speaking of ores other than those controlled by Patiño which was another problem.
The Minister spoke in this connection of establishing a “permanent” industry here which would prevent a return to the European and particularly British smelters Mr. Veatch explained that it would be impossible at this time to say how permanent the industry might be but that in any event the contemplated arrangements would be in effect for some time so that it would be possible to see whether a permanent industry could economically be established. The Minister said that a two or three year period was what he was thinking of in the sense of “permanent” and that it would then be possible to judge what could be done.