Bolivia


77. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, April 27, 1969.

President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger reported on presidential succession after the death of President Barrientos. He predicted that the head of the armed forces, General Alfredo Ovando Candia, who had presidential aspirations, would emerge as the strong figure.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 770, Country Files, Bolivia, Vol 1. Secret. A note on the memorandum indicated the President saw it.


78. Intelligence Note 520 from the Director of Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Hughes) to Secretary of State Rogers, Washington, July 9, 1969.

The Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) reported that the Bolivian military feared Siles’s attempt to build his political base amongst miners and students, and began preparing a coup against the President. Despite his desire to become president, Ovando seemed to be a reluctant to take power by military force.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 15–1 BOL. Secret; No Foreign Dissem; Limdis.


79. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, September 26, 1969.

President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger predicted that the new military government would adversely affect U.S. interests in Bolivia.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 770, Country Files, Latin America, Bolivia, Vol. 1, 1969–1970. Confidential. Sent for information. A note on the front of the memorandum indicates the President saw it on October 6. Tab A is attached but not published.


80. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, October 17, 1969.

President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger outlined for President Nixon the implications of the nationalization of Gulf Oil.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 770, Country Files, Bolivia, Vol. 1 1969–1970. Confidential. Sent for information. The memorandum was not initialed by Kissinger. The Hickenlooper Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 was initially approved in August 1962 and subsequently revised in December 1963. Sponsored by Senators Burke B. Hickenlooper and E. Ross Adair, the amendment stipulated that the President suspend assistance to any country that expropriated the property of U.S. citizens or corporations without proper compensation. (76 Stat. 260)


81. Telegram 178650 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Bolivia, Washington, October 22, 1969, 0147Z.

The Department instructed the Embassy to express concern at the present state of relations between the United States and Bolivia, and asked the Embassy to inform the Bolivian Government that it must pay compensation for nationalized U.S. companies.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 15–1 BOL. Confidential; Immediate. Repeated priority to Lima. Drafted by Crimmins and Chapin; cleared by Samuels, Vaky, Legal Advisor Stevenson, Meyer, USIA, ISA, CIA, AID, DoD, JCS, and Treasury; and approved by Richardson.


82. Telegram 7658 From the Embassy in Bolivia to the Department of State, October 23, 1969, 1605Z.

As instructed in State telegram 178650, Ambassador Siracusa expressed concern to General Ovando about the deterioration of United States-Bolivian relations. The Ambassador told the President the U.S. Government was reviewing its assistance programs toward Bolivia.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 15–1 BOL. Confidential; Limdis. Repeated to Lima, USCINCSO, and AMCONSUL Cochabamba.


83. Information Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State (Meyer) to the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, (Samuels), Washington, November 6, 1969.

Assistant Secretary Meyer outlined positions of Bolivia and Gulf Oil in the dispute over Bolivia’s nationalization of Gulf’s assets. The Department of State aimed to bring the two parties together for negotiations.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, ARA Assistant Secretary Subject and Country Files: Lot 72 D 467, CAM [Charles A. Meyer] Chronological File, November 1969. Confidential. Drafted by Chapin; and cleared in draft by Feldman and Stevenson, and by phone by Trezise. The memorandum is an unsigned copy.


84. Telegram 8579 From the Embassy in Bolivia to the Department of State, December 27, 1969, 1730Z.

Siracusa and Ovanda discussed some of the problems in United States-Bolivian relations, in particular Gulf Oil, and U.S. assistance to Bolivia.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files, 1967–1969, POL BOL–US. Confidential. Repeated to Lima and USCINSCO.


85. Backchannel Message From Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Meyer) to the Ambassador in Bolivia (Siracusa), January 9, 1970.

Assistant Meyer instructed Ambassador Siracusa to identify, by January 20, “moderate elements in the Bolivian power structure,” but without giving the impression the Embassy was interfering in Bolivian affairs.

Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Box 19, Bolivia 1973–1980. Secret. Drafted by Chapin and Crimmins. The document is the draft of the message as authorized by Meyer.


86. Telegram 327 From the Embassy in Bolivia to the Department of State, January 23, 1970, 1410Z.

Ambassador Siracusa reported a two hour meeting with President Ovando. Ovando assured Siracusa that the Government of Bolivia did not concur with what Siracusa termed a “campaign of vilification” against him and that Ovando fully trusted the Ambassador.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 770, Country Files, Latin America, Bolivia, Vol. 1 1969–1970. Secret; Exdis; Immediate; Eyes Only for Assistant Secretary Meyer. The telegram was stamped “White House Situation Room ‘70 Jan 23 pm 5:26.”


87. Telegram 11357 From the Department of State in Washington to the Embassy in Bolivia, January 23, 1970, 2245Z.

[ 1 page not declassified ]

Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Box 14, La Paz, 1970. Secret.


88. Airgram A–76 From the Embassy in Bolivia to the Department of State, March 26, 1970.

U.S. officials identified political stability, internal security, and economic growth as the key U.S. goals in Bolivia. In addition, Washington leaders aimed to convince the Bolivian Government that its interests lay in collaboration with the United States.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 1 BOL–US. Confidential.


89. Memorandum Prepared in the Department of State, Washington, April 7, 1970.

At President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger’s request, the Department of State provided a memorandum that discussed possible Bolivian compensation for the expropriation of Gulf Oil, and how the United States was trying to create a favorable environment for an agreement over compensation.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 770, Country Files, Latin America, Bolivia, Vol. I, 1969–1970. Confidential. Sent for information. The memorandum was attached to an April 9 memorandum from Vaky to Kissinger, stating, “This is really intended for your information, but has been prepared as a memo to the President in case you feel it would be useful to provide this information to him.” Kissinger signed an April 13 covering memorandum to the President summarizing this memorandum. The April 13 memorandum is not published.


90. Memorandum From the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson) to President Nixon, Washington, August 22, 1970.

Undersecretary Johnson provided President Nixon with a “Report on Insurgency in Bolivia.” Johnson summarized the report noting that, although the guerrilla insurgency in Bolivia could threaten the stability of that country, no special U.S. effort was needed.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 770, Country Files, Latin America, Bolivia, Vol. 1, 1969–1970. Secret; Limited Distribution. Kissinger’s July 24 memorandum is in Washington National Records Center, OSD Files, FRC: 330–76–067, Box 66, B 1970. A summary of the study on insurgent groups is published as Document 33.


91. Telegram 4519 From the Embassy in Bolivia to the Department of State, September 5, 1970, 1700Z.

Ambassador Siracusa discussed a meeting held with President Ovando the previous evening. Siracusa concluded that the international community would look favorably on the Gulf Oil settlement. Ovando stated that, even though opponents in Bolivia would criticize the settlement, he would uphold it.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 770, Country Files, Latin America, Bolivia, Vol. 1, 1969–1970. Confidential. Repeated to Buenos Aires, Madrid, Lima, and USCINCSO. Gulf Oil and Bolivia reached an agreement on September 1 (Telegram 4428 from La Paz, dated September 2, Ibid.)


92. Memorandum From President Nixon to Director of Central Intelligence Helms, and the Acting Chairman of the Under Secretaries Committee (Johnson), Washington, September 15, 1970.

President Nixon, citing intelligence reports, stated that a continent-wide revolutionary group might be forming in South America. He asked the Under Secretaries Committee to write a report on insurgencies in the region.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, ARA Assistant Secretary Subject and Country Files: Lot 73 D 115, White House Correspondence, 1970. Secret; Limdis. The CIB was not found. On December 1, Hartman circulated Nixon’s memorandum to Packard, Kissinger, Helms, Moorer, and Hannah. (Washington National Records Center, OASD Files: FRC 330–760–067, B 1970) A summary of the Under Secretaries report is published as Document 33.


93. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, October 7, 1970.

When briefing President Nixon on the ouster of President Ovando by General Torres on October 6, President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger predicted that the new regime would be ultranationalistic, leftist, and anti-United States.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 770, Country Files, Latin America, Bolivia, Vol. 1, 1969–1970. Secret. Sent for information. In his October 7 covering memorandum to Kissinger, Vaky stated, “I think Torres will be far more radical than the Peruvian generals. He is a real potential Nassarist.” Attached but not printed is biographical information.


94. Memorandum From Viron P. Vaky of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, October 8, 1970.

National Security Council staff member Vaky suggested the United States quietly give assurances to General Torres that if he acted reasonably, the United States could work with him.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 770, Country Files, Latin America, Bolivia, Vol. 1, 1969–1970. Confidential. Sent for information. “Action” was handwritten on the memorandum. Kissinger wrote “I agree with pvt. [private] contact. HK” on the memorandum. In an October 14 note to Haig, Vaky stated that on October 9 Torres asked for a continuation of relations. Vaky asked the Department of State to respond affirmatively. Vaky also asked the Department to make an approach to Torres along the lines his October 8 memorandum to Kissinger. Vaky concluded, “I think this little gambit will pay off.” Haig initialed the note. On October 13, the Department made the approach to Torres. (Telegram 168190 from the Department of State, ibid.)


95. Memorandum from the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, October 15, 1970.

President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger predicted that Torres’ government would be more like the Peruvian Government, as opposed to the prospective Allende government in Chile. Kissinger argued that if the U.S. Government signaled it would support him, General Torres might pursue a moderate course.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 770, Country Files, Latin America, Bolivia, Vol. 1 1969–1970. Confidential. Sent for information.


96. Information Memorandum From the Acting Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs (Crimmins) to the Acting Secretary (Irwin), Washington, December 5, 1970.

Acting Assistant Secretary Crimmins argued that the U.S. Government should postpone tin sales for 90 days starting on December 7 in order to stabilize Bolivia’s economy and thus support General Torres’s inclinations towards political moderation.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, ARA Deputy Assistant Secretary, Subject and Country Files: Lot 73 D 353, JHC [John H. Crimmins] Chronological File, July, August, September 1970. Secret. Drafted by Freeman. Copies were sent to U, J, C, and D. The memorandum is an unsigned copy. Tab A, Telegram 6098 from La Paz, was not found. Attached but not printed at Tab B is the December 2 memorandum. In a July 24 memorandum to Rogers, Crimmins predicted that sales of the U.S. Government tin stockpile “might well push President Ovando to the left, away from the political center of gravity which he has been seeking, would present new opportunities for exploitation by the USSR.” (Ibid.)


97. Memorandum From Ashley C. Hewitt of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, March 15, 1971.

National Security Council staff member Hewitt noted that, although the Torres government was weak, there appeared to be no other viable alternative for the United States to support. Hewitt then suggested that support from the United States might strengthen Torres, but that it would behoove the U.S. Government to keep looking for alternatives.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 770, Country Files, Latin America, Bolivia, Vol. 2, 1970–1974. Secret. Sent for information. Kissinger wrote “Should go to SRG” on the front. The SRG meeting on Bolivia was never held. Attached but not published at Tab A is the February 19 CIA Intelligence Memorandum 1255/71, “The Prospects for Torres and Bolivia.” Attached but not published at Tab B is the NSC Staff’s February 15 synopsis.


98. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, April 14, 1971.

President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger reported on President Torres’s favorable reaction to the U.S. decision to suspend sales of stockpiled tin.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 770, Country Files, Latin America, Bolivia, Vol. 1I 1970–1974. Confidential. Sent for information. Attached but not published at Tab A is telegram 1740 from La Paz, dated April 8.


100. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to President Nixon, May 6, 1971.

President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs Haig briefed President Nixon on his meeting with Ambassador Siracusa. The topics included tin, the prospects for the Torres government, U.S. investments, and Bolivia’s relations with its neighbors.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 770, Country Files, Latin America, Bolivia, Vol. 2, 1970–1974. Limited Official Use. Sent for information. Tab A is attached but not published. According to the President’s Daily Diary, he met with Siracusa on May 7 from 4:16 to 4:32. (Ibid., White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary) In a telephone conversation the same day, Nixon said of Siracusa: “He’s just one of a few tough hard-line ambassadors.” (Ibid., White House Tapes, Conversation Among Nixon, Kissinger, Haldeman, Conversation 493–15, Oval Office)


101. Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and President Nixon, Washington, June 11, 1971.

President Nixon and President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger discussed how the Torres regime in Bolivia had damaged U.S. interests in Bolivia, and the possibility of attempting to remove Torres from power.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Conversation No. 517–4, Oval Office. No classification marking. The editors transcribed the portions of the tape recording published here specifically for this volume. The transcript is part of a larger conversation, 9:37–10:36 a.m.


102. Memorandum From Arnold Nachmanoff of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, June 17, 1971.

National Security Council staff member Nachmanoff outlined options for military and economic assistance to Bolivia.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–55, SRG Meeting Bolivia 6/17/71. Secret. Sent for action. In a covering memorandum, Kissinger approved a telephone poll on the policy if an SRG meeting was not possible. No record of an SRG meeting on Bolivia on or after June 17 has been found. Kissinger wrote on the covering memorandum, “I favor option D on mil[itary] and Option B on economic.” A note in another hand reads; “Phoned to Arnie [Nachmanoff] DH.” There were five attachments. Tab A, Talking Points, has not been found. Tabs B through E are attached but not published. Tab B is the June 14 IG/ARA Options Paper; Tab C is Telegram 3022 from La Paz, June 7; Tab D is the June 11 CIA Chronology of Soviet Moves; and Tab E is June 16 CIA Intelligence Memorandum 1707/71, “Bolivia Under Torres.”


103. National Security Decision Memorandum 114, Washington, June 23, 1971.

President Nixon approved Option D for economic assistance and Option B for military assistance of the NSC Interdepartmental Group for Inter-American Affairs (IG/ARA) Options Paper.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–224, NSDM Files, NSDM 114. Secret. Copies sent to the Chairman of the JCS and the DCI. The June 14 paper is Tab B to Document 102. On June 28, Kissinger sent a memorandum to the Secretaries of State, Defense, and Treasury, stating that with regard to the last sentence in the NSDM, “The President’s decision intended to mean that the United States representatives in international agencies should abstain without comment if Bolivian loan requests are brought to a vote.” Copies sent to the Chairman of the JCS, and the Director of Central Intelligence. (Ibid.)


104. Memorandum for the 40 Committee, Washington, June 29, 1971.

This 7 page memorandum proposed a covert action program to aid the moderate political opposition to the Torres regime.

Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Box 19, File Bolivia, 1973–1980. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. Sent to Meyer, Crimmins, and Fischer on July 6. The covert assistance plan is discussed in Document 105.


105. Memorandum for the Record, Washington, July 6, 1971.

The Committee discussed the usefulness and potential problems of covert aid to the opposition to President Torres, in particular to the MNR. The Committee decided to wait for Ambassador Siracusa’s thoughts on such assistance before acting.

Source: National Security Council Files, Nixon Administration Intelligence Files, 40 Committee Meeting Minutes. Secret; Eyes Only. Copies sent to Mitchell, Packard, Johnson, Moorer, and Helms. In an attached covering memorandum from Jessup to Kennedy, Kennedy informed Jessup that he would pass the minutes on to Nachmanoff and Kissinger. Siracusa’s views are in Document 106. The State Department paper was not found.