99. Editorial Note

President Richard M. Nixon administration officials divided over the issue of whether to sell tin from the U.S. Government’s stockpile. The Bureau of Inter-American Affairs and U.S. Ambassador to Bolivia Ernest V. Siracusa called for halting sales of tin from the stockpile, as lower tin prices would harm the Bolivian economy and help to push the Torres government further to the left. On September 17, 1970, President Nixon authorized a 90 day delay in tin sales from the U.S. stockpile, but then allowed for sales after the expiration of the 90 day period. See Foreign Relations, vol. IV, 1969–1976, Foreign Assistance, International Development, Trade Policies, 1969–1972, Document 437. General George A. Lincoln of the Office of Emergency Planning disagreed with the policy, wanting instead to reduce tin prices by means of stockpile sales. Lincoln argued that halting tin stockpile sales would only reinforce Bolivia’s attempts, in international forums, to get other nations to protest the sale of other items stockpiled by the U.S. Government. (Ibid., Document 435) After the 90 day delay, Nixon requested tin sales from the stockpile be resumed. However, on January 25, 1971, Nixon reversed himself, calling for another 90-day delay in sales (Ibid., Document 439). On April 9, Nixon decided to postpone sales from the stockpile indefinitely. (Ibid., Document 440)