740.0011 European War 1939/1321

The Chilean Minister for Foreign Affairs (Ortega) to the American Ambassador in Chile (Bowers)27

No. 11555

Mr. Ambassador: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Your Excellency’s note of December 15th,28 conveying to my Government a proposal of the Department of State that my Government join the other American countries in representations to Germany and Great Britain with regard to the situation off the Uruguayan coast between warships belonging to those States and within the Zone of Security created by the unanimous resolution of the Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the American Republics for Consultation which took place in Panama in September of this year.

Your Excellency adds that your Government suggests that this representation be made through the Government of Panama as soon as information has been received with regard to the exact site in which the battle in question took place and the extent of participation in it of the belligerent countries.

In reply, I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that my Government accepts the suggestion of the Government of the United States that a joint declaration be made to manifest to the belligerents the desirability of respecting the Zone of Security created by the Meeting at Panama with a view to avoiding subsequent legal decisions which might, at a given moment, be construed as in opposition to one or the other of the groups at war.

In this respect, I take this opportunity to inform Your Excellency’s Government that a similar act has just been produced off the Chilean coast, also within the Zone of Security under reference.

The British cruiser Despatch yesterday captured the German merchant ship Dusseldorf 20 miles off the Chilean coast opposite the port of Caldera, thereby committing an act of war which, although permitted by the laws and usages now in force, has taken place within the Security Zone.

Therefore, my Government believes that this same opportunity could be availed of to include in the projected representation the case in question.

I take [etc.]

Abraham Ortega
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Ambassador in his despatch No. 215, December 18; received December 26.
  2. Note was based on circular telegram of December 15, 1 p.m., p. 94.