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

No. 239

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my cable message No. 47 of June 3, 1 p.m., and to previous correspondence relative to the embargo placed by the Chilean Government upon motor vehicles and radios, in general, and in particular to the question of granting exchange permits for such products already in transit when this action was taken.

The Embassy has been besieged by importers and others interested with requests for assistance. Automobiles and radios have been fast accumulating on the docks in Chilean ports where the former are for the most part held in open spaces subject to the inclement weather conditions as well as to insurance and storage charges.

After having unsuccessfully endeavored to see the Minister of Foreign Affairs, I addressed to him a note on the 2nd instant, of which I beg to transmit a copy herewith.41

Subsequent inquiries at the Foreign Office elicited the information that everything possible was being done to expedite the matter and I was assured that the Foreign Minister was in accord with the justice of my request.

At the same time, I was quite convinced that nothing definite could be accomplished in this quarter until the return of the Minister of Hacienda. The Exchange Control Commission gave every evidence of complete independence of any other source of authority.

Señor Gustavo Ross arrived in Santiago on the 10th instant.

In the meantime I went down to Valparaíso and visited the Customs where I found about sixty American and twelve German automobiles unboxed and standing in the open. Some of the American cars, I was informed, had been there for weeks and had been subjected to five heavy rain storms during that period. In addition there were a hundred Ford cars and many others boxed but also in the open.

On my return to Santiago, I again got in touch with the Foreign Office and was assured that the matter was receiving every attention possible.

I beg also to transmit with this a copy and translation of a note I have now received from the Minister of Foreign Affairs dated the 10th instant.41

In this note Dr. Cruchaga states that after consultation with Señor Ross it has been decided to permit the importation of motor vehicles [Page 352] and radios which were shipped to Chile prior to the receipt of notice of the embargo.

The note states also that the Government has decided to prohibit the importation of these articles from all countries, including those with which Chile has compensation agreements.

Since the receipt of the enclosed note I have learned today that one firm of importers of American automobiles has received an export draft permit for a part of its consignments and a promise that the balance will be granted in permits for exchange in the open market. No action has yet been taken with regard to other applicants.

Futher developments in the matter will be reported to the Department.

Respectfully yours,

Hoffman Philip
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