107. Memorandum From Arnold Nachmanoff of the National Security Council Staff to President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1 2

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  • Bolivia

With the probability that a coup attempt is about to get underway in Bolivia, I think you should be aware of a recent development which may create problems for us. I met with Charlie Meyer and Tim Flannery of CIA earlier this week concerning 40 Committee or potential 40 Committee issues in Latin America. At that time Flannery informed us that the CIA [text not declassified] with [text not declassified] one of the ex-military figures involved in coup plotting. [text not declassified] unexpectedly brought [text not declassified], a co-leader of the military dissidents. [text not declassified] allegedly urged them to exercise restraint and to avoid precipitous action, but [text not declassified] gave them [text not declassified] to “cement relations.

Although Flannery maintained that [text not declassified] was attempting to establish channels for influence with moderate opposition elements—consistent with the charter which you approved—he conceded privately his concern that the CIA [text not declassified] acted prematurely in passing funds. State, needless to say, was quite concerned that [text not declassified] and [text not declassified] would now be in a position to claim US support, and despite whatever assurances they gave [text not declassified] would undoubtedly do so on the basis of the cash received. It also seemed questionable to me that it was wise for [text not declassified] to pass finds directly. It was agreed that no further funds would be passed by [text not declassified] without reference to Washington.

If this incident does blow up publicly, we will, of course, deny it. [text not declassified] the amount was small enough so that it would be pretty difficult to trace back. However, it probably increases unnecessarily our vulnerability to charges of intervention.

[I have just been informed by CIA that the coup attempt was called off this morning and that La Paz was quiet as of 0700, 19 August.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 770, Country Files, Latin America, Bolivia, Vol. 2, 1970–1974. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. Sent for information; Outside the System. Kissinger wrote on the first page of the memorandum: “Let’s just relax and see what happens. HK.” Attached was a transmittal indicating that the memorandum was sent to Kissinger, who was in San Clemente. Although Nachmanoff said Flannery acted prematurely in passing funds to the opposition, Helms told Kissinger on August 24 the 40 Committee had ordered the passing of the funds. See Document 108.
  2. Nachmanoff informed Kissinger that certain U.S. actions in La Paz could be interpreted there as U.S. support for a coup. On August 21, General Hugo Bánzer Suárez overthrew President Torres.