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

No. 1374

Sir: With my despatch No. 1366 of January 25, 1933, I enclosed a copy of a Memorandum of January 24, 1933, in which I reviewed for the information of the new Foreign Minister, Mr. Cruchaga, many of the problems long outstanding between this mission and the Foreign Office. Since all of these matters have become hopelessly involved in delays, evasions and unfulfilled promises and we were making no progress I determined to adopt a different policy of dealing with the Foreign Office. Accordingly, instead of presenting these matters in a general way as has been the practice in the past in the expectation of achieving better results by informal instead of formal negotiation, I am now taking up the pending questions individually and asking in each instance for some specific action or decision. My viewpoint in this respect is set forth in Note No. 955 of February 3rd, 1933, a copy of which is enclosed for the Department’s information. At the same time I am transmitting copies of two other communications11 recently addressed to the Foreign Office seeking action or solutions in two issues that call for prompt attention. It is my expectation that after taking up these matters directly and personally with the Foreign Minister and having arrived at a decision as to what can be done he will then delegate the working out of the details to some member of his staff with whom we can deal directly in finally disposing of the matter.

Respectfully yours,

W. S. Culbertson
[Enclosure 1]

The American Ambassador ( Culbertson ) to the Chilean Minister for Foreign Affairs ( Cruchaga )

No. 955

Excellency: In a memorandum dated January 24th I brought to Your Excellency’s attention a series of problems which have been pending for a long time between the Chilean Government and this Embassy. This memorandum did not raise the fundamental issues [Page 113] for which sooner or later solutions will have to be found. It merely presented problems long pending for which relief can be given without prejudicing Chile’s economic position but which have remained unsolved largely because of the unsympathetic attitude of certain agencies of the Chilean Government or because, acting through the normal channels of diplomatic intercourse, it has been impossible to obtain the co-operation from other branches of the Government necessary to the carrying out of agreements arrived at with the Foreign Office. For more than a year we have met with evasion and delay or at best with apologies that one branch of the Chilean Government is unable to obtain action from another. Decisions adverse to American interests have been prompt and definite; decisions for American interests which should follow in the simple course of administration have been put off or rejected. In short, effective relief to American interests has not been given.

It is earnestly hoped that this policy will be changed. Your Government can, if it desires, settle immediately the cases of re-exportation and bank deposits; it can see that a satisfactory settlement is made with individuals having the right to withdraw their retirement funds from the Caja de Retiro; it can place restraint upon the unjust decisions against American interests in the Labor Tribunals; it can adjust equitably the tariffs of the American-owned public utility companies; it can grant relief to the American-controlled copper companies which are struggling to keep up production in the face of a serious world situation; it can instruct the Treaty Commission to consider the interests of American trade pari passu with the interests of the trade of other countries and submit in the near future a basis for the exchange of notes in reply to my formal communication No. 903 of November 9, 1932.

I have felt it desirable and necessary to bring these points to your attention since it is quite clear that it is no longer in the interest of good understanding that I withhold a frank statement of the situation. We have reached a place in the relations between the United States and Chile when we must expect more than vague assurances which remain unfulfilled. With the many demands upon your time I naturally desire to avoid burdening you with what should be essentially routine matters but, since for one reason or another, these questions are still pending after months of negotiations I have no other recourse but to ask Your Excellency’s personal interposition and assistance in reaching a final and definite disposition of these longstanding problems.

I avail myself [etc.]

W. S. Culbertson
[Page 114]
[Enclosure 2]

The American Ambassador ( Culbertson ) to the Chilean Minister for Foreign Affairs ( Cruchaga )

No. 953

Excellency: I have been somewhat disturbed to note that the press continues to report discussions in the Treaty Commission concerning commercial arrangements with Germany, Belgium, Italy and Cuba, although no suggestion appears therein concerning similar arrangements with the United States.

In this connection you will recall that in my Note No. 903 of November 9, 1932, my Government requested equivalent treatment and no doubt the Commission now has before it this request. The position of my Government on this question was also briefly outlined to you in my memorandum of January 24, 1933. I sincerely hope that the consideration which I assume the Treaty Commission is now giving to the above-mentioned request of my Government will help it to advance toward a solution of the question of equivalent treatment in respect to my Government pari passu with the consideration which it is giving to the commercial relations of Chile with other countries.

You are of course aware that no discriminatory restrictions are placed on Chilean trade in the markets of the United States. Your country is therefore receiving the maximum treatment in the American market which you can hope to receive from other countries with which you are negotiating compensation agreements. In considering the position of American trade in Chile my Government looks to the results obtained by other countries and asks for equivalent treatment. Whether the arrangement between our Governments will take the form of an exchange of notes or some other form can be determined as the discussions proceed. It need scarcely be added that my Government expects that the problems of American commerce will be considered along with the problems relating to the commerce of other countries and in fact confidently expects that they are so being considered by the Chilean Government.

I would appreciate an indication from Your Excellency as to when it would be convenient for you to enter into conversations looking to an arrangement on this matter.

I avail myself [etc.]

W. S. Culbertson
  1. Notes Nos. 952 and 953, January 31. No. 952 is not printed; it asked for the release of the savings account to an American woman about to return to the United States. Despite representations by the Embassy she had been unable to obtain the release of her savings after 7 months of delay.