824.00/1282: Telegram

The Ambassador in Bolivia (Boal) to the Secretary of State

1985. My telegrams on the revolutionary movement including 1982.5 The situation is now as follows:

Doctor José Tamayo, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Junta has delivered to the Nuncio as Dean of the Diplomatic Corps a note stating the foreign policy of the Junta which is being telegraphed in clear.

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Previously a meeting of the Chiefs of Mission was held at the Nuncio’s house where the matter of deposition of various persons who have taken refuge in a number of Embassies was discussed.

Inasmuch as I now have no such persons at the residence or office I did not enter into the discussion.

The other Chiefs of Mission agreed that the Chilean Ambassador6 would endeavor to arrange for safe conduct to Arica, for such as wished to leave the country and still appear to be in danger.

He had already made arrangements for President Peñaranda and his brother Elisio to leave by Aeto Carril [ferrocarril?] for Arica accompanied by the Chilean Military Attaché and they left this afternoon. The Chilean Ambassador reports that President Peñaranda informed him that he had not signed a resignation (as broadcast and published in the newspapers). When such a document was presented to him for signature he said he stipulated he would sign only if allowed to go to his home at Sorata and live there unmolested. The Junta refused this request. However, they acceded to the Chilean Ambassador’s suggestion of deportation to Arica which was ordered by the Junta without the President’s consent.

I have talked with the Mexican and Brazilian Ambassadors and with the Colombian Minister and British Chargé d’Affaires who are of the opinion that regardless of assurances of intention which have been or may be given by the revolutionary Junta it is desirable that we all proceed with extreme caution and in close consultation with each other. I doubt if any of them will at present recommend immediate recognition of the Junta as a government. The Mexican Ambassador explained in [the meeting of Chiefs of Mission that] he considers the fact that Mexico is at war makes the wisdom of applying the Estrada Doctrine7 doubtful and that he expects to await evidence that the Junta is not or does not become sympathetic to Nazi influences before recommending “automatic” continuation of official relations.

The revolution appeared by noon to have been completely successful in La Paz. There seems to have been little bloodshed. Soldiers and carabineros were stationed throughout the city this afternoon and it is hoped that this will prevent a repetition of the looting which took place this morning. Insofar as we can ascertain all military forces in the neighborhood of La Paz have joined the revolution although there are unconfirmed reports of continued resistance at Uyuni. I understand that although they have arrested Generals Rodríguez and Ortiz (the former until lately Military Attaché in Chile) they are being considered by the MNR for high army posts.

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Four of the American training planes from Santa Cruz were flown back to La Paz this morning by air officers sympathetic to the MNR. Captain Baumgardner of the Air Mission is reported as still being in Santa Cruz.

General Toro8 sent a message to my house today saying he might appear there this evening. He is at present in hiding. I have seen the Chilean Ambassador and he states he will be glad to receive him in the Chilean Embassy, so if he calls at the residence I will arrange for him to go to the Chilean Embassy.

A feature of this revolution is that it appears to be entirely an MNE-Army affair without participation by the PIE.9 There is evidence this evening that in some parts of the country where the PIE is dominant they are endeavoring to take over the local administrations rather than let the MNR have them and that a struggle between these two parties may be imminent in La Paz. There has been a resumption of desultory rifle fire on a small scale in some parts of the city which may be attributable to this struggle.

There are some indications that there may be friction between the army and other Junta leaders.

The Panagra plane from Lima which was to have brought the Vice President of Peru stayed in Arica this morning. Another Panagra plane here was detained for some time by the Junta under orders but then was allowed to proceed to Lima. Panagra’s license has been suspended by the Junta but Aranibar10 expects to arrange for resumption of service by tomorrow.

While there are some rumors of a counter-revolution tonight it seems probably [probable] to me that the Government has been so thoroughly broken up and army forces have gone over to the revolution so extensively that nothing serious of this character is apt to occur unless it be with the PIE.

I would appreciate having telegraphic instructions as soon as possible regarding future contacts with the Junta. I gather that the Foreign Minister of the Junta will ask me again to come to see him at the Foreign Office and I shall do so in harmony with the practice already being followed by the other Chiefs of Mission for practical reasons. The Nuncio’s acknowledgment to Tamayo’s note clearly establishes the Junta’s unrecognized status.

I will also appreciate any information you can telegraph me regarding the attitude of other Governments particularly those of the United [Page 536] Nations and of Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Argentina, regarding recognition.

As a background [apparent omission] of the members of the Junta as at present constituted is such that I am under the impression that a prerequisite to recognition should be actions in harmony with Bolivia’s position as a member of the United Nations. For instance deportation from Bolivia of the outstanding Nazis and Japanese capable of future financing of opposition to the United Nations interests regardless of what promises and agreements might have been made.

The Mexican Ambassador is strongly of the opinion that any unsecured recognition of the Junta might result in its following the same course as that followed by the Argentine Government under similar circumstances.

  1. Dated December 20, 1943, not printed.
  2. Benjamin Cohen Gallerstein.
  3. For an account of this doctrine of recognition, see Supplement to the American Journal of International Law, vol. 25 (1931), p. 203.
  4. Ex-President General David Toro.
  5. Partido de la Izquierda Revolucionaria.
  6. Ernesto Aranibar, Manager in Bolivia of W. R. Grace and Company, of which Panagra (Pan American-Grace Airways) was a subsidiary.