740.0011 European War 1939/17500: Telegram

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

375. Since outbreak of hostilities it has been obvious that Bolivians hope for maximum of concessions from the United States in return for such aid as they give us. This has taken form of suggestions by Minister of Finance that tin and tungsten contracts might be modified to Bolivia’s advantage and statements by Minister of Foreign Affairs to officer of Legation that Bolivia needed economic help immediately (despite facts that economic mission is about to commence full activities and that this is one Latin American country in better financial position than at outbreak of European war). It is epitomized in public statement of ex-Minister of Finance that Bolivia should “negotiate cooperation”.

I have endeavored discreetly to insinuate to Foreign Minister and some of his predecessors that best way for Bolivia to secure economic help was to take firm stand by our side, at least breaking off relations with Axis Powers. Brother of Minister at Washington tells me that latter has recommended break with Axis. At meeting called December 11th, of ex-Foreign Ministers to advise Minister of Foreign Affairs all but one were in favor of breach of relations and Minister expressed agreement.

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Nevertheless at meeting today covered by my 375 [376], December 13, 6 p.m.58 Minister of Foreign Affairs read telegram sent to Bolivian Minister at Washington asking him to inform Department that Bolivia had failed to break off diplomatic relations only because this would cause subversive activities with which Bolivia was not prepared to cope with because of lack of armaments which could only be met by Lend-Lease loans.

  1. Infra.