611.2531/629

The Ambassador in Chile (Bowers) to President Roosevelt

My Dear Mr. President: Because I am genuinely alarmed over the nature of the trade agreement proposals to be made by us to Chile I have thought it my duty to write personally to Secretary Hull setting forth the very strong and unanimous conviction, not only of myself, but of Mr. Frost, the Counselor, Mr. Bohan, the Commercial Attaché, and Mr. Trueblood, the Second Secretary. In fact there is not one man in the Embassy who does not share the views therein expressed. We are offering precious little to a country that needs help, but that would not be bad if we ourselves were asking proportionately little, but the contrary is the fact.

We have great investments here, and looking to the future, we are afraid that unless we are able to do something more for Chile than the meager $5,000,000 credits there may be a reaction which will change the feeling for us here. And there is grave danger that from sheer desperation and necessity she may be forced to suspend payment on the American debt to get the dollars to buy in America the things she needs.

You will note from the letter what the British are doing.

I am sorry you got the wrong impression about the Alessandri matter.36 It never occurred to me that he should not be received. In view of his action in sending to the anti-Government press here complimentary things said, not for publication, by Mr. Hull and Mr. Welles, I had no doubt it was my duty to warn Washington of what had been done to the end that you might not say anything to him as a matter of cordiality that could be used by the opposition press as an implied expression of a preference for the former Government.

Warmest regards,

Sincerely,

Claude G. Bowers
  1. On his return to Chile from a European trip, ex-President Arturo Alessandri stopped in the United States and was received by President Roosevelt and other high officials, including the Secretary of State and the Under Secretary of State, but no public statements were made by them.↩