146. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Bolivia1

178793. Subject: President Carter’s Reply to President Padilla. Ref: La Paz 5832.2

1. C–Entire text

2. Text of President Carter’s reply to July 6 President Padilla letter follows. No signed copy of letter will follow. As a normal routine, the president’s correspondence is privileged and not made public.

3. Begin text: Dear Mr. President: I have carefully considered your thoughtful letter of July 6. I appreciate your raising these concerns with me in the cordial and open manner that is a hallmark of US-Bolivian relations.

First of all, Mr. President, let me congratulate you and Bolivia’s armed forces for your leadership in returning your country to democratic rule.—When your government came to office last November, its firm decision to undertake the return to constitutional rule was applauded by my country and Bolivia’s friends everywhere. This decision put your country, and its armed forces, in consonance with the Andean Region’s movement toward democracy, which we see as an important trend for the entire hemisphere. We have been deeply impressed with the way your government carried out the first stage of the electoral process, which merits the respect and admiration of all of us in the Americas. The successful completion of this process with the August 6 inauguration will place Bolivia back in the ranks of democratic countries of the region as well as enhance Bolivia’s international standing and capacity to achieve its social, economic, and diplomatic objectives.

On the matter of tin, this is being urgently studied, and I will let you know through Ambassador Boeker what we will be able to do to [Page 448] meet your concerns.3 Let me assure you that the United States will manage any eventual disposals so as to safeguard against disruption of the tin market and the economic position of producers, including Bolivia. Any sales plans will be developed on the basis of full consultation with the Bolivian government, with other producers, as well as with the international tin council and will be designed, to the best of our abilities, to avoid undue disruption of the international tin market.4 In addition, my government will work through the international financial institutions and with Bolivia’s new leaders to help the new government raise the financial support necessary to back a sound stabilization program.

To express as clearly as possible to the Bolivian people our goodwill and deep appreciation of the country’s orderly return to constitutional rule, I am asking my wife, Rosalyn, to represent me at the inauguration of Bolivia’s newly-elected President on August 6.

As you approach the final stage of Bolivia’s return to constitutional rule, Mr. President, a process which you have so steadfastly overseen, let me wish you and your people full success in this historic venture, and all the best to you personally in the future. Sincerely, Jimmy Carter. End text.

4. Before delivery of letter, Ambassador Boeker should speak with Robert Pastor, NSC, telephone 202/395-6961, concerning final clearance paragraph on US delegation to Bolivia presidential inauguration.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790313-1162. Confidential; Flash. Drafted by E. Perez; cleared by Pastor and Schneider and in ARA, ARA/AND, EB, USOAS, S/CPR, and S/S-O; approved by Bushnell.
  2. July 6. The Embassy transmitted Padilla’s letter to Carter. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790307-0803) Padilla asked Carter “to hold back any measure which might, through its severe effects on the Bolivian national economy, interfere with, weaken or even frustrate this process in Bolivia. The indefinite calling to a halt of the disposal of tin by the General Services Administration would effectively contribute to such a goal.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 5, Bolivia)
  3. In a July 16 memorandum to Tarnoff, Dodson requested the preparation of a cable “to follow up on the President’s message, being as responsive to Bolivia’s concerns as possible.” In a July 20 memorandum to Brzezinski, Tarnoff recommended that the proposed cable “be delayed until either Congress takes action on pending tin disposal legislation or it becomes clear Congress does not intend to act this year on this matter. Ambassador Boeker concurs in this approach.” In an August 7 memorandum to Tarnoff, Dodson asked the Department to “continue to monitor Congress’s consideration of tin legislation and follow-up with the new Bolivian president at an early and appropriate time.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 5, Bolivia)
  4. In a July 10 memorandum to Brzezinski, Pastor wrote: “The Senate is currently considering a bill which would dispose of 35,000 tons of tin, and our Ambassador has recommended that we seek a delay on this bill. That has not proven possible, and instead State recommends that the President send a message stressing that we will not do anything to unduly disrupt the international tin market.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 5, Bolivia)