100. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to President Nixon 1 2

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  • Your Meeting with US Ambassador to Bolivia, Ernest V. Siracusa, on Friday May 7 at 4:00 p.m.

You are scheduled to meet briefly with our Ambassador to Bolivia, Ernest V. Siracusa, Friday, May 7 at 4:00 p.m. There will be a brief photo opportunity at the beginning of the meeting. I will sit in on the meeting.

Ambassador Siracusa requested an appointment to meet with you before his departure for Bolivia in November 1969 and again in November 1970 when he was in Washington for consultations but this was not possible. Siracusa is a career Foreign Service Officer who served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Lima prior to his nomination as Ambassador to Bolivia.

The primary purpose of this meeting is to give the Ambassador a sense of your views on US-Latin American relations and help him in his dealings with the Bolivian Government by demonstrating your personal confidence in him.

You may wish to raise the following subjects in the course of the meeting:


  • —You may wish to ask Ambassador Siracusa about the reaction in Bolivia to your decision to indefinitely postpone sales of stockpile tin.

Prospects for Torres Government

  • —You may wish to ask about the future prospects for the Torres Government, which continues to be weak and erratic and thus far has not been able to find any firm basis of support in either the army or the public at large.
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US Investments

  • —You may wish to ask about the prospects for US investment in Bolivia in the wake of the decision by the GOB to expropriate the Matilde Zinc Mine (owned by US Steel and Englehard Mining and Metals), and about the prospects for compensation in the Matilde expropriation.

Foreign Relations

  • —You may wish to ask about Bolivia’s relations with her neighbors especially Chile and Peru, and the bearing these may have on our interests. (The Allende Government has made a point of trying to improve its relations with Bolivia but has not yet reestablished formal diplomatic ties between the two countries which were ruptured a few years ago by a territorial dispute.)

Biographic data on Ambassador Siracusa is attached at Tab A. You will recall that you were impressed with Siracusa when he accompanied John Irwin to Key Biscayne in April 1969 to discuss the IPC problem. You also recently commended Ambassador Siracusa on a speech he gave recently in La Paz articulately defending US foreign policy.

  1. 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, Nixon met with Siracusa on May 7 from 4:16 to 4:32 p.m. (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)
  2. 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.