177. Action Memorandum From William G. Bowdler of the National Security Council Staff to President Johnson 1


  • Letter from President Barrientos

The Bolivian Embassy has delivered to State a long letter (Tab B)2 from President Barrientos thanking you for the invitation to the Ranch and discussing issues he did not have time to take up with you while there.

The issues boil down to:

  • —recognition of Bolivia’s contribution to hemispheric security by eliminating “CheGuevara.
  • —Bolivia’s willingness to cooperate in physical integration, but it also desires access to the sea.
  • —a request that GSA make its 3-month suspension of tin sales indefinite.
  • —United States approval of a loan to moderate Bolivia’s airports and airline.

At Tab A is a suggested reply prepared by State.3 It compliments President Barrientos on his decision to work toward greater economic integration (i.e., Andean Common Market and the River Plate Basin Development) and his success in dealing with the Guevara guerrillas. On bilateral economic matters, the letter avoids getting into specifics because we do not know what use President Barrientos might make of it. He knows that since the Ranch visit, two loans (roads and agricultural cooperatives) have been approved, and the airport-aircraft loan will be completed when details on the down payment are worked out. We cannot agree to an indefinite suspension of GSA tin sales, but the letter makes clear we will consult fully with Bolivia on any significant actions we might contemplate taking.

I recommend you sign the letter.4

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Special Heads of State Correspondence, Bolivia, March 1, 1968. Confidential.
  2. A Department of State translation is attached but not printed. The Barrientos letter, July 8, was sent from New York. (Ibid.)
  3. Attached but not printed. The draft was prepared in the Department of State and transmitted to the White House on July 24, along with the Department’s translation of the Barrientos letter, under a covering memorandum from Read. (Ibid.)
  4. The signed letter to Barrientos is ibid.