740.00112A European War, 1939/2878

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of the American Republics ( Bonsal ) to the Under Secretary of State ( Welles )

Mr. Welles: The Chilean Ambassador called on me yesterday evening and discussed at some length the views of his Government [Page 296] regarding the Proclaimed List. He emphasized that the Chilean Government had at no time had any intention of taking the initiative in any sort of a collective protest regarding this matter, but that apparently Chilean representatives in certain of the other American republics had been instructed to investigate reports that certain other governments were agitating the possibility of such a protest.

The Ambassador referred to the fact that he had already had a discussion with you on this matter and that he was hoping to see you again on Friday morning.19 He is strongly impressed with the desirability of our Government’s accepting the “guarantee” of the Chilean Government as a basis for the deletion of certain firms from the Proclaimed List. I did not mention any individual companies, although I asked him whether he had any in mind. Apparently the “guarantee” of the Chilean Government would consist of a statement to the effect that that Government, following careful investigation, was convinced that a specified firm on the Proclaimed List was not engaged and would not thereafter engage in activities inimical to the United States. I did not express any view regarding this proposal, but we did discuss the purposes and objectives of the Proclaimed List in general. I said that of course both the Embassy in Santiago and the Department would welcome information or suggestions from the Chilean Government regarding individual cases.

It is the Ambassador’s opinion that the usefulness of the “guarantee” plan would be to convert the Proclaimed List from a unilateral measure on our part to a cooperative venture in which all the American republics would participate. It is my view that we cannot accept the “guarantee” plan in principle, but I hope that we will continue to give considerable weight to expressions of official opinion regarding firms and individuals carried on the Proclaimed List. There can be no question of the value of the Proclaimed List as a measure of economic warfare; at the same time, it is, in my opinion, unless very carefully handled, apt to affect unfavorably the long-term development of our relations with the other American republics.

Philip W. Bonsal
  1. October 10.