Efforts of the United States to counteract Axis activity in Bolivia

  • [1. For previous documentation on efforts of the United States to control Axis financial transactions in Bolivia, see Foreign Relations, 1944, volume VII, pages 514 ff. In telegram 368, May 30, 1945, the Embassy at La Paz was instructed that it might discreetly inform the Bolivian Government that an Export-Import Bank Loan for replacing Axis firms was no longer to be expected and that the desired result could be achieved instead by expropriation of Axis properties with compensation to former owners (740.24112 RP/5–2245). In despatch 1619, October 1, the Ambassador in Bolivia (Thurston) reported that the “discussions regarding expropriation and replacement of Axis firms in Bolivia proceeded with a great deal of emphasis upon financing of the project”, and that the Embassy “with some apparent success” had impressed the Minister of National Economy, Jorge Zarco Kramer, with the view that “external aid may not be required in view of the interest manifested by several Bolivian firms” in purchasing Axis spearhead firms and also that, since the Bolivian Government had previously “failed to proceed with expropriation, the United States Government had been compelled to withdraw its offer of financial assistance.” The Embassy undertook, however, to convey to the Department of State a Bolivian request for financial assistance whenever it became convinced “that local capital could not be obtained and that the Bolivian Government cannot finance the program from its funds” (740.24112 RP/10–145). Then in telegram 1034, October 10, 1945, 4 p.m., the Ambassador reported that the “Bolivian Government now appears disposed to carry through Axis replacement program” (740.24112A/10–1045). In despatch 1861, November 21, the Embassy further reported that proposals to use blocked Axis funds for public works were “in no way interfering with the present rapid pace being maintained in Bolivia at this moment in replacing Axis spearhead firms” (824.5151/11–2145).
  • 2. Informal representations were made to the Bolivian Government during 1945 against allowing Major Elías Belmonte Pabón, who had been Bolivian Military Attaché in Berlin, to return to Bolivia from Spain or to continue to use a diplomatic passport. For further information regarding Major Belmonte, see Department of State, Consultation Among the American Republics With Respect to the Argentine Situation (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1946), pages 20–22.]