824.00/5–646: Telegram

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


384. General belief is that yesterday’s elections were bitter disappointment to MNR.1 Rumors of impending state of siege, purpose of which will be clean up leading opponents of Government (and not with kid gloves either) have conservative, democratic, and liberal elements in state ranging from resentment to terror.

Minister of Public Works2 once stated cryptically to AP friend that it made no real difference how elections turned out. Relations between military and MNR components present Government may become clarified result elections, but few days at least needed to determine this. Saturday night drunken MNR crowd including Minister of Labor and Agriculture shot off pistols at El Diario building. Report states same night in Trinidad 3 opposition leaders were shot by MNR leaders, one dying immediately, one later and one badly wounded. Same night in La Paz at least one group distributing opposition pamphlets severely beaten and others prevented from distributing while pro-Government pamphlets were distributed freely from official cars.

Great discussion going on among chiefs of missions over emergency meeting of Diplomatic Corps. British Minister3 trying force meeting while Argentine and Ecuadoran representatives told Dean4 they would not attend. British, Argentine and Dean (Venezuelan) called on me this morning. I took position if meeting were called I would, of course, attend, always on understanding I could participate in no joint action.

British Minister wanted me to join him and two other colleagues in protest to Government on atrocities which I refused. Dean not anxious [Page 341]to call meeting and will do so only if British Minister formally insists.

  1. Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario (Nationalist Revolutionary Movement).
  2. Maj. Antonio Ponce.
  3. Thomas Ifor Rees.
  4. The Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Esteban Chalband Cardona, Venezuelan Ambassador to Bolivia.