Memorandum of Conversation, by the Adviser on International Economic Affairs (Feis)

In accordance with previous arrangements, the Bolivian Minister called upon me this morning to find out what progress was being made in our arrangements for the construction of a smelter in this country for Bolivian tin. I informed him that Mr. Duggan and myself had again discussed the matter with Mr. Jones yesterday, and were making every effort to get the necessary decisions made on this end. He said that he understood the variety and difficulty of some of the decisions. He again reiterated the importance of the matter in relations between the two countries and the great desirability of avoiding further protracted delay. For one thing, he emphasized the fact that the contracts for the supply of ores to English firms were expiring shortly and the question of their renewal would occur. He said definitely that the preference definitely both of the Bolivian Government and the Bolivian ore producers, outside of Patiño, was to have a long term arrangement for the shipment of their ores to the United States.

He asked whether it might not be possible to give his Government right now a fairly definite and precise commitment and to accompany [Page 535] it by arrangements for immediate ore purchases. I said I did not know whether or not it could be done prior to the definite formulation of our own plans. He had brought into our last discussion a request from the Bolivian Government that we consider immediate ore purchases. This I discussed with Mr. Jones, who authorized us to tell the Minister to “have him make an offer”. The reply was put in the form of an informal memorandum, the text of which was approved by Mr. Jones. I gave the Minister the Memorandum (copy is attached).20 The Minister said he would send it down to La Paz at once, but perhaps when the reply came it might be the basis of an immediate ore purchasing arrangement even in advance of complete definition of our own plans. I said that I was sure we would be willing to discuss that possibility when the reply was received and I promised to introduce him to Mr. Jones.

  1. Infra.