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

No. 1374

Sir: I have the honor to report that in the course of a conversation this morning when I took Lieutenant Colonel Edward H. Porter, Chief of the United States Army Aviation Mission to Bolivia, to pay his protocol visit on the Minister of Foreign Affairs (while Colonel Porter and the junior members of the Mission arrived on November 25, he has been ill and was unable to make his visits until today), the latter advised me that he had informed the Italian Government, through the Italian Legation in La Paz and the Bolivian Legation in Rome, that the services of the Italian Military Mission to Bolivia would be terminated this month. On my inquiring exactly when these services would end, the Minister stated that this would be after the examinations finishing the military school year which he thought was just before Christmas.

When Lieutenant Colonel Clarence W. Bennett, the Military Attaché of the Legation, took Col. Porter to call on the Minister of War this afternoon the subject of the Italian Military Mission was also aired. The Minister of War stated that the termination of the services of the Mission was a question which had been definitely settled and that he was going to Cochabamba, where the Mission is stationed, in the course of the next two or three days to tell its members that their services were to end after the examinations and to arrange details.

The Minister of War again expressed interest in the possibility of securing the services of United States Army officers to replace some of the Italian officers as instructors in courses in the Bolivian Staff College at Cochabamba. Col. Bennett told him that, if a request were made through the Bolivian Minister in Washington, he was sure careful and sympathetic consideration would be given to it.46 Col. Bennett [Page 422] further suggested that, if it was decided to ask for the services of an American Army Mission of this character, it would be helpful to have in advance of the formal request an indication of the exact curriculum which each officer would be expected to cover in his courses so that it might be ascertained as soon as possible whether qualified officers would be available.

Respectfully yours,

Allan Dawson
  1. A formal request was made by the Bolivian Legation on February 14, 1942, and on April 9, 1942, the Department of State informed the Legation that the War Department had concluded that four officers could meet the request for instructors. (824.20/189, 203a)