810.20 Defense/1731: Telegram

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

678. For the Under Secretary. Referring to my 670, December 2, 5 p.m.15 In condensed form memorandum received from the Foreign Minister sets forth that in accord with inter-American agreements of Panama and Habana the Chilean Government thinks it urgent to fortify Straits of Magellan and maintain in those waters a number of naval elements for the vigilance and protection of that strategic zone. This in accordance with Chile’s responsibility in the collective defense and because the present menace to the peace of the Pacific makes it necessary to take measures to prevent that route being employed against the vital interests of the continent. It then quotes article 5 of the treaty of July 188116 in which Argentina and Chile agree to the perpetual neutralization of this region. It goes on to say the obligation falls on Chile because it is sovereign on both coasts and the waters of the Straits to take the initiative in conversations with Argentina to make possible the fortification necessary during the period the security of America is in danger. It says that negotiations promise a speedy successful termination in view of assurances of Argentine Chancery to Chilean Ambassador today. In view of expected successful [Page 560] termination of negotiations Chile wishes to inform the Government of the United States [that] the Chilean Council of Defense and the military, naval and air authorities after a detailed study have arrived at definite conclusions as to the manner of fortification and the material required. Some of the material [is] now here but to obtain the rest the cooperation of the United States in facilitating the acquisition under the Lease-Lend Act17 will be necessary. The material desired is set forth in an accompanying memorandum.18

The full memorandum goes forward by next air mail pouch and memorandum on material will be telegraphed after I obtain clarification from Naval and Military Attaches in the morning.

  1. Not printed.
  2. British and Foreign State Papers, vol. lxxii, p. 1103.
  3. Approved March 11, 1941; 55 Stat. 31. See ante, pp. 133 ff.
  4. Not printed.