Bolivia’s chargé d’affaires in Prague, Jorge Calvimontes Calvimontes, was a young leftwing journalist and poet who had risen to prominence in the 1950s as a writer for La Nación, the official newspaper of the Bolivian revolution and its heterogeneous political party, the Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario.
February 28, 1962
Czechoslovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Record of Conversation with Bolivian Chargé d’Affaires Jorge Calvimontes, Prague
Issue No.: 1
[Czechoslovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs]
Record of Conversation with Bolivian Chargé d’Affaires [Jorge] Calvimontes,
[28 February 1962]
After the film screening by the minister, Calvimontes raised the question of our contributing to the construction of the kids’ town in La Paz. I replied that several of our offices had concurrently discussed the matter, e.g., the MFA [Ministry of Foreign Affairs] and the ÚRO [Central Trade Union Council], and it is necessary to await the results. Calvimontes stressed the political importance of our contribution to Bolivia and said that contributions had already been pledged by Belgium, the Netherlands, and other states. I remarked that the Bolivian Minister of Labor and Social Welfare Guachalla asked during a recent visit with us to focus our aid on a school for miners’ children. Calvimontes then replied that this case is a different activity where our help is of course also welcome. We then agreed that Calvimontes would visit me, and that these questions would be discussed in light of the contributions of other countries about which Calvimontes also promised to inform me.
Calvimontes turned the conversation to our mutual economic relations and mentioned the need ‘to finally do something in order to see tangible results.’ I replied that our chargé recently spoke with the Bolivian president regarding this issue, especially the plans being put in place for a tin smelter. We are willing to also consider the Bolivian request with regard to a sugar refinery. These operations, however, are poorly coordinated, and it is a great pity that solid economic relations are yet to be established since we have been waiting for over a year now for the Bolivian economic delegation, already announced many times. Calvimontes agreed and at the same time inquired whether we would be interested in having not only tin supplies but also copper and other commodities readily available in Bolivia. I emphasized once again that we cannot address the aforementioned issues without first consulting economic experts and brought up the necessity of having representatives from both countries take immediate action either in Prague or La Paz. I could only tell him that in such negotiations, which will strictly follow the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, a number of commodities would surely be identified which we could buy. The same applies to Bolivia.
Calvimontes then said that cde. Najman at the MFT [Ministry of Foreign Trade] asked if we could buy minerals in Bolivia for hard currency, and that he gave Najman ‘a sort of conditioned response.’ I remarked to him that this comment was just another argument for the effectiveness of early, quite professional economic negotiations. On the question about whether Calvimontes could inform La Paz regarding our conversation, I answered in the affirmative.
Calvimontes again took an interest in knowing when we expect to have an official opinion on the question of a financial contribution to ‘kids’ town’ and the development of a school for miners’ children. I replied that perhaps there is a way that the matter could be resolved by our Minister of Education and Culture, who will be in La Paz at the invitation of Minister Fellman.
Written by: Dr. Petrželka
You will inform the Embassy in La Paz of the contents of this conversation.
Bolivian Chargé d’Affaires Jorge Calvimontes opened a February 1962 meeting at the Foreign Ministry by asking whether or not Czechoslovakia was willing to provide assistance for “Kid’s Town,” a children’s art exhibit which was his pet project.
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