740.00118 European War 1939/95

The Acting Secretary of the Navy ( Forrestal ) to the Secretary of State

Sir: In the Navy Department’s letter of October 28, 1940,2 there was expressed the desire to open Naval Attaché, Assistant Naval Attaché, and Naval Observer Offices abroad at a total of twenty-one new locations and the Department of State was requested to make the proper diplomatic representations to the various foreign governments concerned.

It now appears desirable to open a Naval Observer’s Office at Punta Arenas, Chile, and it is therefore requested that the Department of State make the usual diplomatic representations to the Government of Chile in order to secure its assent to the opening of the Office.3

The personnel situation of the Navy, does not permit of the detail of an officer to this duty until it is known that the proposal is acceptable to the Chilean Government and it is therefore requested that the matter be presented to it in advance of the designation by name of the officer who will ultimately be assigned to the post.

His name will, of course, be referred to the Chilean Government for its consideration as to acceptability as soon as an affirmative reply is received to the proposal of the establishment of the post.

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The Navy Department is desirous of opening this Office at the earliest practicable date and therefore requests that the matter be handled by cable or radio.


  1. Not printed.
  2. This request was based upon conversations held by the American Ambassador in Chile, the Chilean Foreign Minister, and General Staff representatives of both countries from August 19 to September 3, 1940. On September 1, 1940, the Ambassador sought Chile’s agreement on four points: (1) To increase surveillance of dangerous elements for the purpose of detaining them in case of emergency; (2) to continue the reciprocal exchange of information on defense and subversive activities; (3) to make preparation for the entry of United States forces by keeping open the routes of entry, maintaining internal order, and making facilities and supplies available; (4) to continue bilateral staff conversations as needed. Chile conditioned its acceptance of these points by offering to include United States experts in its organizations for vigilance and control and thereby increase the surveillance, and by requesting financial terms that would make possible the purchase of armaments from the United States. (810.20 Defense/10–2640)