174. Memorandum Prepared for the 303 Committee1

SUBJECT

  • Exploitation of Residual Relationships Developed During the Political Action Program for Bolivia

REFERENCE

  • Memorandum for the 303 Committee, Subject: “Results of the Political Action Program for Bolivia,” dated 15 July 19662

1. Summary

Reference memorandum reported the successful conclusion of a political action program for Bolivia. This program, approved by the 303 Committee on 5 February 1965, culminated approximately 18 months later in an orderly transfer of power via elections to a civilian, constitutional government and inauguration of President Rene Barrientos on 6 August 1966. [10½ lines of source text not declassified]

2. Current Status

[6 lines of source text not declassified] This effort which was responsive to the IRG/ARA/COIN Action Memorandum number one dated 20 July 1967,3 entailed the dispatch to the area of guerrilla operations, by the Agency, of a highly professional and well equipped team using Bolivian Government cover. [4½ lines of source text not declassified] It so effectively improved the intelligence capability of the Bolivian Second Ranger Battalion that elements of that unit acting on field acquired intelligence were able within a matter of days to establish contact with the main force of guerrillas and on 8 October 1967 eliminate all but six of the insurgents. Ernesto “CheGuevara was among those who lost their lives. Clean up operations are continuing.

[3 lines of source text not declassified] Specifically they were used to prevent the summary executions of Ciro Roberto Bustos, Jules Regis Debray and other guerrilla captives, and subsequently to arrange for their interrogation by experienced [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] interrogators. It was through information provided by [Page 388]Bustos that the Bolivian Army was able to recover documents and matériel cached by the insurgents. These were later used in the Bolivian presentation to the meeting of Foreign Ministers where Foreign Minister Guevara Arce surfaced participation of Ernesto “CheGuevara in the guerrilla operations.

[1 paragraph (2 lines of source text) not declassified]

3. Future Plans

[1 paragraph (3 lines of source text) not declassified]

4. Coordination

Assistant Secretary Oliver and Ambassador Henderson concur with the continuance of these operational relationships.4

5. Recommendation

It is recommended that the 303 Committee note and endorse this activity.5

  1. Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, 303 Committee Files, c. 63, December 1, 1967. Secret; Eyes Only.
  2. Document 161.
  3. See Document 166.
  4. Oliver recommended approval in a memorandum to Kohler on November 29. (Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, 303 Committee Files, c. 63, December 1, 1967) This approval elicited criticism, however, from within INR and ARA. In a memorandum to Trueheart on November 30, Gardner remarked: “we learn that CIA sent a CI team to Bolivia in August of this year, under Bolivian Government cover, [text not declassified]. I would have supposed that this matter was preeminently fit for 303 consideration.” (Ibid.) [text not declassified]
  5. The 303 Committee approved the recommendation at its December 1 meeting. (Ibid.)