160. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson 1

SUBJECT

  • Bolivian Elections

Bolivia holds a national election on Sunday.

It is not an interesting contest. The government candidate—General Rene Barrientos, who has headed the military junta for the past 18 months—is almost certain to win.2 The opposition is weak and divided. As many as four of the six opposition parties may pull out of the race at the last minute. There may be some violence. The OAS is sending observers, which should provide some stability and help reduce the traditional electoral manipulations.

[Page 364]

The best that can be said for the elections is that it will serve to put Bolivia back in the ranks of constitutional government—in form, if not in substance.

W. W. Rostow 3
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Bolivia, Vol. IV, Memoranda, January 1966–December 1968. Confidential.
  2. Results of the Bolivian election, in which Barrientos won handily, are reported in airgram CA–219 to all ARA posts except Caracas, July 8, 1966. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 14 BOL)
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.