825.00/644: Telegram

The Chargé in Chile ( Norweb ) to the Secretary of State

42. Feeling against the Government has become more noticeable during the last few days following upon the recent salary cuts and increased taxes which, together with some defection in the Army and Navy, is being capitalized by the old Conservative Party. In view thereof the President today issued a proclamation in the form of orders to the provincial governors referring to the public unrest and warning that he would not hesitate to use the armed forces of the country to maintain order. This threat of force, added to recent deportations and the arrest this morning of several members of the family of ex-President Alessandri and their sympathizers, has created much indignation. There have been no disorders but tension exists and the city is patrolled by large numbers of armed soldiers and police. These measures indicate the Government’s apprehension. Absolute censorship has been placed on all outgoing news but foreign correspondents have been given a statement by the Minister of Finance and requested to transmit it as a personal interview with the President. The statement is intended only for foreign consumption and attempts to convey the idea that the situation is normal.