824.61311/7–3146

The Ambassador in Bolivia ( Flack ) to the Secretary of State

confidential
No. 67

Sir: I have the honor to report to the Department that the Bolivian Government and the Flour Millers Association are extremely concerned over the wheat supply situation. As the Department is aware, Bolivia normally receives its wheat requirements from the Argentine. For two years, however, it has been extremely difficult for Bolivia to obtain required wheat deliveries from that country for which reason it was impossible to build up adequate stocks. The reasons advanced locally for short shipments were (1) lack of railroad rolling stock and fuel oil in the Argentine, and (2) reported economic pressure against Bolivia.*

Since the overthrow of the Villarroel Government36 on July 21, the Junta Government has received information from its Embassy in Buenos Aires that “Due to transport irregularities and other factors, efforts should be made to assure the supply of wheat and cereals from another source, thus avoiding a scarcity caused by the failure of shipments from Argentina”. This report has caused considerable consternation among Bolivian officials because they realize that a shortage of bread might cause serious repercussions. They also realize that in case shipments from the Argentine are not maintained, it might be extremely difficult to obtain essential requirements from other sources.

I am submitting as an enclosure a table prepared on July 30, 194637 which illustrates the stock position of wheat and flour in Bolivia and the total estimated requirements.

It will be noted that the total supply of flour (including unmilled wheat) is 8,238 metric tons and that the estimated monthly needs are 5,410 metric tons, which indicates that supplies are sufficient for approximately forty-five days.

I respectfully request that the Department give serious attention to the wheat problem of Bolivia. If wheat shipments from the Argentine are not maintained, it may be necessary, within two to three weeks, for me to request the Department’s assistance in obtaining an emergency shipment of approximately 10,000 short tons, at the market price.

I have made arrangements to receive periodic reports on the arrival of wheat at La Quiaca on the Bolivian-Argentine border and if the [Page 421] situation becomes critical, the Department will be informed promptly by telegram.

Joseph Flack
  1. See Embassy’s secret cable no. 686 of July 22, 1946; Embassy’s confidential despatch no. 547 of March 14, 1945. [Footnote in the original; neither document printed.]
  2. For documentation on this subject, see pp. 340 ff.
  3. Not printed.