101. Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and President Nixon 1 2

Kissinger: We are having a major problem in Bolivia, too. And—

Nixon: I got that. Connally mentioned that. What do you want to do about that?

Kissinger: I’ve told Karamessines to crank up an operation, post-haste. Even the Ambassador there, who’s been a softy, is now saying that we must start playing with the military there or the thing is going to go down the drain.

Nixon: Yeah.

Kissinger: That’s due in on Monday.

Nixon: What does Karamessines think we need? A coup?

Kissinger: We’ll see what we can, whether—in what context. They’re going to squeeze us out in another two months. They’ve already gotten rid of the Peace Corps, which is an asset, but now they want to get rid of USIA and military people. And I don’t know whether we can even think of a coup, but we have to find out what the lay of the land is there. I mean, before they do a coup, we would—

Nixon: Remember, we gave those goddamn Bolivians that tin.

Kissinger: Well, we can always reverse that. Then we—

Nixon: Reverse that.

  1. 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 that took place from 9:37 to 10:36 a.m.
  2. Nixon and 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.