825.6363/241: Telegram

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

1083. The announcement of further reduction in supplies of petroleum products to Chile has fallen like a bombshell on the Government, the President canceling appointments for a special Cabinet meeting to consider the situation and will probably have an equally bad effect on public opinion here for the well-organized Axis propaganda will doubtless redouble its not unsuccessful efforts in connection with the first reduction of petroleum supplies.

I hope the Department will authorize me to say that every effort will be made to prevent interruption of vital services mainly truck and bus transportation. Secondly, it is important that the press associations carry an interesting and convincing statement from someone of importance within the Government—I suggest Mr. Welles—pointing out dramatically that the present scarcity is the result of war needs in this important year and pointing out that other countries dependent on tanker-borne supplies such as Brazil, Uruguay, et cetera, are receiving the same treatment and that even this reduced treatment is only possible at a sacrifice of the military needs of the United Nations.

One difficulty here is that it is well-known throughout Chile that Peru, Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela are undergoing no rationing and it is the thorough belief here that rationing even in the Eastern States is on a much more generous per capita scale than in Chile.

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It is particularly unfortunate that this reduction occurred at this precise moment and we must react vigorously with the best publicity available.