740.0011 Pacific War/1049: Telegram

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

752. For the Secretary and Under Secretary. Rossetti gave me a confidential intimate description of situation confronting the Government and particularly himself growing out of position he has so far with the Japanese aggression. His greatest difficulty grows out of the actual and acute fear of many men in Congress and in armed forces (shared by the public) that the Chilean coast may be attacked and the unverified reports that Japanese airplane carriers and vessels are off the Chilean coast. His foes, and ours, attack as having provoked trouble with Japan when he knows Chile cannot alone meet an aggression and without any authentic assurances that we would come to her assistance if attacked. And men of good faith, he says, while agreeable to his policy are fearful and eager to be assured that we have promised assistance. In Congress he has prevailed after hard battles but the Nazis, Fascists, and Falangists and Japanese are now concentrating their fire on him and his pro-American policy. He is most nervous because men of good faith in army are worried lest Chile, attacked, would not have our support. This afternoon he is seeing ranking army officers one by one to reassure them.

In the event of an attack from Japanese, he feels that … he must have a signed protocol for secret use if necessary in which we agree to support Chile if attacked by any nation outside this hemisphere. He gives me the impression Welles has told Michels he is agreeable. He begs that this be given by Wednesday32 morning, to be signed here, and predated October 23, 1941. … Since we have had such an agreement for more than a year and a half33 I can see no objection as to the dating.

Since this seems to me the critical hour here I strongly feel that we should agree to such protocol before Wednesday for secret use in Senate and with army, and I request authorization to sign, and instructions also to wording.

  1. December 17.
  2. See correspondence on the defense of the Western Hemisphere, Foreign Relations, 1940, vol. v, pp. 1 ff.