701.6524/12: Telegram

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

146. Personal for Dawson. Your 159, March 11, 5 p.m., and 156, March 11, 2 p.m.53 Please see the Foreign Minister again and give him the following personal message from me:

“The attitude now displayed by the German and Italian Governments constitutes positive confirmation that those two Governments are determined to use every method at their disposal to try to prevent the departure of their diplomatic and consular officials from the American Republics. If any proof had been required that these agents were destined for subversive activities of grave danger to the security of the American Republics and to the efficacy of our cooperative hemispheric defense plan, that proof is now clearly presented.

As I have stated before, the plans have been fully worked out for the transportation of all of these German and Italian officials by way of New York to Lisbon. The Argentine Government will not permit them to enter Argentina unless a previous safe conduct has been granted by the United States and British Governments for their passage from Buenos Aires to Europe and this safe conduct has not and will not be issued. Consequently, the only way in which these persons can return to their own country is under the terms of the plan formulated by the United States Government, of which the Bolivian Government is fully advised.

Naturally the United States Government cannot continue to send ships to remove these people. The ships designated for the purpose of removing Axis officials from the Pacific ports of South America are already under way and if the German and Italian Axis officials now in Bolivia reach Arica by March 19 they will be put on board one of these vessels immediately thereafter.

It is clear that the continued presence in Bolivia of these officials would constitute a grave and continuing danger to the security of the state just as the continued presence of similar Axis officials in the United States, if prolonged, would constitute a danger to the security of this country. The threat of reprisal should not, in my opinion, outweigh the sovereign right of every one of the American Republics to take, for its own security, those measures which appear to it to be necessary and which are clearly recognized by every standard of international [Page 336] law. I most earnestly hope that the Minister will agree with my own belief that the step in question is of the highest importance as being in consonance with the spirit and the letter of the resolutions adopted at the Rio de Janeiro conference.

If these officials are not sent to Arica by March 19, there is no other prospect of their removal, and their internment in Bolivia would, I am confident, be a source of danger to the security of the Bolivian state and a source of continued disquiet to the Bolivian authorities.”

Telegraph me the reply made to you.

  1. Neither printed.