824.00/6–1746: Telegram

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


544. ReDeptel 331. Have just seen Sub-Secretary for Foreign Affairs and handed him note on Grace and Co. text of which reads as follows:

“I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that I am frankly disturbed over the situation of Grace and Company and its subsidiary, Panamerican Grace Airways. The general manager, Mr. Ernesto Aranibar, has thought it best to seek refuge in the Brazilian Embassy and I understand that his house was searched, some damage done and the servants frightened. The Panagra manager, Mr. Guillermo Elio, has been arrested and is being held incommunicado. Other officials of the organization are in hiding and being sought by the police.

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As this is the largest United States enterprise in Bolivia and as I feel a definite moral responsibility for its behavior, I should like to request Your Excellency to inform me of the charges against these officials so that I may, in turn, report to my Govt with a view to seeking remedial action, should it be deemed desirable under the circumstances.”

I have offered to give my personal guarantees that general manager Aranibar will appear for questioning on Govts promise not to incarcerate him once he leaves Brazilian Embassy. I am still trying to get Panagra manager Elio out in some way or another so he can do his job. I have hopes that Aranibar will be back at his desk by noon tomorrow but am more dubious about Elio. Had long talk this afternoon with US citizen and Grace comptroller Noth who was instructed to consult me. We agreed that political situation here is such that although absolutely innocent, Aranibar cannot carry on in best interests of company. It is, therefore, suggested that Grace be advised that it would be in their interest to transfer Aranibar for a considerable period of time, replacing him with an American citizen. I am, likewise, in favor of an American citizen managing Panagra as I think Elio’s position, although he is innocent too, makes his usefulness to the company extremely doubtful.