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

No. 1134

Sir: With reference to numerous previous despatches informing the Department of the steps taken by the Embassy with the Bolivian Government with a view to providing adequate protection for the lives of American citizens residing at the various mines in Bolivia, I have the honor to enclose a copy of Memorandum No. 236 of March 19, 194716 which I handed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Urriolagoitia, on that day.

In handing him this memorandum I referred to the threats of death which had been made by the miners who in this connection had named Messrs. Deringer and Peters, two American engineers working at [Page 334] Catavi, and asked that the Bolivian Government take such additional steps as it might feel were necessary to safeguard the lives of these two men, their families, and other Americans at Catavi. In discussing this question Dr. Urriolagoitia said the problem was an extremely difficult one and that he realized that in addition to the personal safety of the foreigners at the mines, it was also a threat to the mine production and was a very serious matter for Bolivia from both of these standpoints. He said that the Bolivian Government is giving most careful consideration to the steps which it should take to attain the desired result and that it was considering the question of sending in some troops but that he was not sure if this would be the right thing as it might be taken by the miners as an additional cause for dissatisfaction.

Yesterday some members of the Embassy visited Catavi in the course of visits to other places in the plane of the Air Attaché of the Embassy and spent the night there. They learned that the Government is contemplating sending in a cavalry regiment composed of experienced men scheduled to arrive at Catavi on the afternoon of Saturday, March 22, as a major design to forestall any further trouble or menaces against the foreign officials working there. Likewise I am informed by our officials who just returned from Catavi that this measure is very gratifying to Mr. Deringer, the Manager, and he feels that it will be accepted by the miners without any demonstration of hostility.

Respectfully yours,

Joseph Flack
  1. Not printed.