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

No. 119

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Department’s cable instruction No. 6 of February 7, 2 p.m., 193613 directing me to address a note to the Minister for Foreign Affairs requesting confirmation of statement made to a representative of the Embassy by Señor García of the Chilean Foreign Office to the effect that the United States will continue to enjoy unconditional most-favored-nation treatment until the French modus vivendi of May 23 [22], 1931, shall be denounced by the formal ratifications of the Franco-Chilean Commercial Convention of January 16, 1936.

The Department’s instruction apparently was based upon the Embassy’s despatch No. 86 of January 24th, last, which reported statements made on the above subject by Señor García, Assistant Secretary of Commerce in the Foreign Office, to a member of the Embassy staff.

As reported in my cable message No. 16 of the 4th instant, I had on that date a conversation with the Under Secretary of Foreign Affairs, in the absence from Santiago of Minister Cruchaga.

Señor Vergara substantiated the information previously transmitted to the Department by positively stating that our modus vivendi of September 28, 1931 will remain in force until the formal exchange of ratifications of the French-Chilean Commercial Convention of January 16, 1936.

On receipt, therefore, of the Department’s cable instruction No. 7 [6], I addressed on February 8th the note to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, of which I beg to transmit a copy herewith.13

In this note reference is made to my conversation with Señor Vergara on the 4th instant with a request for its confirmation.

I now beg to report to the Department that the Embassy has received from the Foreign Office an official Memorandum, dated February 19th, a copy and translation of which are transmitted with this.13

The Memorandum states that although the French-Chilean Commercial [Page 316] Treaty of January 16, 1936 was put into effect provisionally on February 8, 1936, the Chilean Government has believed it best, in view of the better commercial relations with the United States, to consider the modus vivendi of September 28, 1931, as still in effect.

It is probable that the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has preferred this means of giving assurance that our modus vivendi will be considered as remaining in force until the definite ratification of the new French-Chilean commercial treaty rather than by a formal acknowledgment of my note, as I presume was envisaged by the Department.

I would be glad to learn if the enclosed Memorandum is considered as satisfactory assurance by the Department.

Respectfully yours,

Hoffman Philip
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