102.78/6–2546: Airgram

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


A–202. Reference Department’s confidential telegram no. 332 of June 1734 regarding request of Bolivian Ministry of Economy for [Page 419] allocation of 20,000 tons of wheat flour for third and fourth quarters of 1946.

An informal agreement has been reached between the Argentine Government and the Bolivian Ministry of Economy for 60,000 tons of wheat, but no formal written agreement has as yet been signed. The understanding provides that 7,000 tons will be shipped as soon as cars are available and that the 53,000 tons will be shipped from time to time during the balance of a year from date of first shipment. The price for the 7,000 tons is said to be Arg. $260 per metric tons at elevator or approximately Arg. $310 c.i.f., La Quiaca, Argentina. The price for the 53,000 tons is Arg. $350 per metric ton placed at elevator or approximately Arg. $400 c.i.f., La Quiaca.

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It appears probable that the reason for the Government’s request for a quota of 20,000 tons of wheat flour for the third and fourth quarters is to have a supply of flour on hand so as to protect against a failure of deliveries on the part of Argentina. It will be recalled that Argentina has on frequent occasions brought pressure upon Bolivia by withholding or slow-motioning the delivery of contracted wheat. In August of 1944 Argentina arbitrarily cut off shipments of wheat for the announced reason that it required all of the rail facilities for Army maneuvers. The United States thereupon diverted 2 shipments of wheat aggregating approximately 18,000 tons in order to relieve the pressure. In the early part of 1945 the railroad service was disrupted by rains and the repairs took a seemingly long time to complete and there was very little service during the months of January, February, and March. Later, Argentina complained that she did not have oil to run her locomotives necessary to bring wheat and other foodstuffs to Bolivia and Bolivia was thereupon required to increase the quota of oil which she had assigned to Argentina. Early this year Argentina brought pressure on Bolivia to get a larger quota of Bolivian rubber for delivery to Argentina and it is reported that the negotiations for the purchase of the 1946 Bolivian wheat requirements were held up pending the out[come] of the request for more rubber. On the basis of information collected by the Embassy covering 1944 wheat shipments from Argentina, it appears that only during 3 months of 1944 were there despatched 5,000 or more tons of wheat, in spite of the fact that during each of these months there had been assigned for despatch 5,000 or more tons, and of such amounts so assigned only 58.24% actually was despatched. It appears unlikely, therefore, that the minimum quantities of wheat required by the Bolivian mills will be received.

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