710.E/166: Telegram

The Ambassador in Chile (Collier) to the Secretary of State


5. Saturday afternoon, after the President of Chile had telephoned that he wished to come to the Embassy to see me, an interview was arranged in which he stated that he regretted keenly the absence of Bolivia, Peru, and Mexico from the Pan American Conference, as he desired all American nations to be represented, and that after Mexico first declined he instructed the Chilean Minister at Mexico City to repeat and press the invitation.

Obregon told the Chilean Minister personally that the obstacle was the attitude of the United States towards Mexico, but that he desired to reach an accord with the Government at Washington, and he felt that the President of Chile, as the host of the conference, would be able to suggest a formula which would give full assurance to the United States that Mexico would comply with the principles of international law protecting the personal and property rights of foreigners.

The President of Chile expressed his desire not to make any suggestion that would not be acceptable to you; stated that he was willing to aid in this matter, that he was confident of success, and that the Chilean Ambassador in Washington had been instructed. I answered him by quoting material parts of the speech you had delivered in Boston as well as from the circular instruction of November 21, 6 p.m.,20 and I am sending copies to him. The United States, I asserted, cherished no hostility toward Mexico; we wished to see a stable government able and willing to fulfill international obligations. The Secretary of State, I added, felt that Mexico had not yet corrected the confiscatory provisions of her Constitution by action of either the judiciary or the legislature; when this should be done, our recognition would probably be accorded. I told the President that I believed your policy would remain unchanged in reply to his request that I cable you. I would naturally inform you by cable of the fact of our interview and its substance, I said, but the Chilean Ambassador ought also to make his representation to you.

The fact of the interview and hints of Señor Alessandri’s purpose leaked out despite absolute reserve on my part, and two reporters came to see me. This morning La Nacion printed a long interview with the Mexican Minister, in which the latter justifies [Page 292] Mexico’s declination of the invitation and takes the ground that the sovereign rights of all nations other than the United States are infringed by the rule under which the conference program must be constructed by a board composed of diplomats accredited to Washington; this rule virtually permits the United States to exclude those whom that Government is unwilling to recognize and thus to dictate the program. The Mexican Minister calls for action by the Latin American republics to abrogate this rule. La Nacion also prints some 50 words of an interview with me, in which I express my unwillingness to make any statement; I denied having any knowledge of a movement by third nations to bring about Mexico’s attendance at the conference, and I asserted that nothing had been done by the United States to prevent Mexico’s attendance, adding that the rule for the construction of the program was not dictated by the United States, but was adopted as a resolution by all the American nations.