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

No. 1458

Sir: I have the honor to report that pursuant to authorization received from the Department, the First Secretary was absent from Santiago for several weeks on a trip through southern Chile which included twelve days in the Punta Arenas area, and that he returned to the capital on May 17. There are transmitted herewith three memoranda7 prepared by Mr. Briggs as follows:

1). Confidential memorandum discussing certain strategic considerations. The Department will observe that Mr. Briggs recommends the maintenance of our Consulate at Punta Arenas, and likewise urges that the transfer of patrol vessels to Chile be expedited in order that an effective coast guard service may be instituted by the Chilean Government in the region of islands and channels along the coast of Chile for several hundred miles north of the Pacific entrance to the Straits of Magellan.

This is the area concerning which apprehension exists relative to the possible establishment of a secret foreign supply base, and both the President8 and General Escudero,9 Chief of Staff of the Army, have expressed themselves to me on the subject of the entirely inadequate surveillance at present possible. The Department will also recall that on previous occasions I have urged that action toward furnishing essential patrol craft be expedited.

2) Memorandum concerning present American representation at Punta Arenas. The Department will be gratified to note the favorable opinion formed by Mr. Briggs of the work of Vice Consul Barker at that post.

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3) Memorandum containing general comments concerning austral Chile and the economic situation as affected by war conditions, et cetera. A copy of this memorandum is being sent direct to our Embassy in Buenos Aires as of possible interest to that office.

Respectfully yours,

Claude G. Bowers
  1. None printed.
  2. Pedro Aguirre Cerda.
  3. Oscar Escudero.