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Message to President Paz Estenssoro of Bolivia Concerning U.S. Disposal of Tin.

October 06, 1961


I wish to acknowledge your telegram of September 16, 1961, expressing your serious concern at the announcement that the United States Government had requested the Congress to grant authority to dispose of a part of its stockpile of tin.

Please be assured that my Government retains a deep interest and concern in the rapid development of the Bolivian nation and the economic and social progress of the Bolivian people. We are committed to assist you in carrying forward the historic aims of the Bolivian revolution; and we intend to continue to fulfill that commitment. I assure you that we will not take any action--in regard to tin or any other matter--which will tend to frustrate our mutual goal of a better life for the people of Bolivia.

We fully understand the great importance of tin to the Bolivian economy. Even now we are engaged in an effort of unparalleled vigor and dimension to help modernize your tin mines and increase their productivity. You can be sure, therefore, that we will sell no tin from our stockpile without first consulting with your government and the governments of other tin producing nations. In this way we can help ensure that the interests of all nations are protected.

The course of action which we have suggested is the sale of small lots of tin over a period of several years. This tin would come from the 50,000 tons which we now have in excess of our strategic requirements. We do not intend to depress the price of tin through these sales; they would be initiated at a time of world-wide shortage and would have the effect of discouraging tin consumers from substituting other materials for their normal tin consumption. In this way we can protect the long-run stability and continued prosperity of the tin market.

We have consulted continuously with officials of your government concerning this problem and such consultations will continue. We hope to work with Bolivia toward a long-term solution to the problem of tin prices. It is to further this aim that we are now studying the terms of our accession to the International Tin Agreement to which Bolivia belongs and which the United States has not previously joined.

I have taken, from the very beginning of my Administration, a deep personal interest in the development of Bolivia and in your own heroic efforts to raise the standard of living of the Bolivian people. It was this interest which led to our early exchange of letters, the sending of a special economic mission to Bolivia, the conclusion of several economic aid agreements including the Triangular Operation for the rehabilitation of COMIBOL, and the stationing of a special economic representative in your country. Therefore, I am certain that our proposal to dispose of small lots of tin over several years, only after prior consultation with your government, will not be counter to the interests of Bolivia or inconsistent with the abiding friendship of our two peoples.

With warmest personal regards,


Note: President Paz Estenssoro's telegram of September 16, /1961, is published in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 45, P. 773).

John F. Kennedy, Message to President Paz Estenssoro of Bolivia Concerning U.S. Disposal of Tin. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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