567. Telegram 280 From the Embassy in Paraguay to the Department of State1 2

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  • Concern About Bolivia

1. After discussing Cuba question per State 023858 (septel), Foreign Minister Raul Sapena Pastor expressed to me real concern of President Alfredo Stroessner and Paraguayan Government over possible major shift to left by Bolivian Government. Should this happen he foresaw as immediate measure designed for internal Bolivian political purposes renewal of Bolivia’s claims to Chaco and drive to the Pacific. In this case Paraguay would need U.S. armaments.

2. Sapena then went into argument made often there, namely that faithful Paraguay gets less aid from US than Bolivia despite fact latter seizes US-owned properties. Paraguay spends virtually nothing on arms, putting all its efforts into development. Only equipment of any consequence received by Paraguay under MAP is an artillery group (in 1968). GOP would like US reconsider carefully its entire approach to military assistance to Paraguay with view increasing it.

3. Similarly, he continued, Bolivia over past ten years has received $300 million in grant aid while Paraguay has received none. Paraguay welcomes and wants more US private investment. However it has continual budgetary and balance-of-payments [Page 2] problems and it would be helpful if US could provide grant assistance.

4. Comment: Although Sapena’s grant aid to Bolivia figures may not be accurate he does make a point. I think we will be hearing more about this subject.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 13–1 BOL. Confidential. Repeated to USCINCSO for POLAD, La Paz, and Santiago.
  2. The Embassy reported complaints from Foreign Minister Sapena that a leftward-moving Bolivia was receiving significantly more U.S. assistance than Paraguay, which was traditionally friendly towards the United States. Sapena added that Paraguay was devoting nearly all its resources to economic development rather than arms purchases.