Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Charles E. Camper, Supply and Resources Division

Participants: Bolivia Señor Ballivian59
Señor Etchenique
FEA Mr. Nitze
Mr. Jewett60
Mr. Peterson61
Mr. Bateman62
State Mr. Wright, ARA63
Mr. Rockwell, NWC64
Mr. Burns, CD65
Mr. Plank, LD66
Mr. Gamper
[Page 486]

Mr. Ballivian notified all present that he had no official instruction to proceed with the negotiations of a new amendment to the present Tin Contract67 but was merely instructed by his government to determine whether or not negotiations could be started. Mr. Nitze replied that the US government was ready to start negotiations at the convenience of the Bolivian government.

Mr. Nitze made clear that the negotiations were not to be a continuation of those terminated by the non-recognition of Bolivia. While a great deal of the work which had been done heretofore could be used no offers which had been made previously by either government should be assumed to be still valid.

The following points were raised by the Bolivians:

Price. Mr. Nitze explained that he would prefer that the Bolivians make the original proposal and that negotiations could proceed from that point. Also FEA wished to state that the price jointly agreed upon could not be retroactive beyond a possible date of July 1, 1944.
Length of Contract. It was pointed out that the price would largely depend on the length of the contract and that this Government would be willing to consider a relatively long contract. Mr. Ballivian asked whether a long term could be defined as 10 to 15 years. Mr. Nitze explained that there was no authority available to FEA to enter into such a long term contract but that FEA felt that a 6 months, 1 year, 18 months or even a 2 year extension could be considered each requiring a different set of terms and conditions.
Smelting Penalties. Mr. Etchenique asked whether or not FEA still considered the smelting penalties as proposed last December were necessary. FEA advised that data assembled in the last six months confirmed the necessity of these smelting penalties. In the long run they would be desirable to Bolivia in order to adjust to post-war conditions when other world tin deposits were reopened.
Social Reforms. Mr. Ballivian stated that his government was interested in tying a social reform program to the new contract. Mr. Nitze replied that any such proposal submitted by the Bolivian government would be given sympathetic consideration.
Taxation. In assisting small mines which could not operate under any economically justifiable tin price Mr. Wright suggested a revision of the Bolivian tax system. Mr. Ballivian agreed that the Bolivian tax structure should be revised but that it would be a long and difficult procedure and could not help the small mines for several years. He also pointed out the loss to Bolivia of income as result of decreased tungsten and antimony purchases.
Visiting Bolivian Delegations. Mr. Ballivian was asked if he knew of any delegation who would visit the U.S. for the purpose of conducting the tin negotiations. He replied he had no official or unofficial information on this matter.

  1. René Ballivian, Financial Counselor of the Bolivian Embassy.
  2. George S. Jewett, General Counsel, Foreign Economic Administration.
  3. Axel M. Peterson, Foreign Economic Administration Mining Engineer.
  4. Alan M. Bateman, Metals and Minerals Division, Office of Imports, Board of Economic Warfare.
  5. James H. Wright, Assistant to the Director, Office of American Republic Affairs.
  6. Stuart W. Rockwell, Division of Northwest Coast Affairs.
  7. Norman Burns, Assistant Chief, Commodities Division.
  8. Ellsworth H. Plank, Division of Labor Relations.
  9. For correspondence on the negotiation of this contract, see Foreign Relations, 1940, vol. v, pp. 524 ff.