Memorandum of Conversation, by the Adviser on Political Relations (Duggan)
The Minister51 permitted me to read a brief telegram from the Minister of Foreign Affairs instructing him to endeavor to secure an increase of $1,000,000 in the amount of the allocation for armament under the lend-lease program to purchase ten locomotives. If it is impossible to increase the allocation then inquiry is made as to whether $1,000,000 of the total allocation for Bolivia could be diverted for the purchase of ten locomotives.
I reminded the Minister that the lend-lease agreement provided for the delivery of “armament and munitions of war”. By no stretch of the imagination could locomotives for Bolivia be considered either as armament or as munitions of war. I told the Minister that he would recall, however, that this Government, in its proposal for economic collaboration,52 had suggested a study of Bolivia’s communication needs, which, of course, included railroads. I suggested the possibility of a railroad engineer being sent to Bolivia competent, if possible, not only to inspect the condition of the locomotives but also to advise on Bolivia’s railroad problems in general.
The Minister said that he himself, prior to coming to see me, had examined the lend-lease text and was prepared for the answer that I had given him. He thought the suggestion I made a good one and hoped that it would be acted upon.
I told the Minister that the question would be looked into at once and I would try to give him a reply tomorrow.