825.24/318: Telegram

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

220. Reference Department’s No. 138 of February 4, 8 p.m. and No. 139 of February 4, 10 p.m. and confirming telephone conversations with Bonsal.26

It was impossible to see Rossetti until 6:30 this afternoon. At first he expressed enthusiasm over the project and said he would endeavor to give the Embassy a definite answer by tomorrow afternoon. Reflecting [Page 12] however upon the large number according to Chilean military standards, of the training crews accompanying the batteries, he expressed concern and said it would be impossible for him to answer before noon Monday February 9 although he realized that the matter was urgent.

One cause of delay is the visit of the Panamanian Foreign Minister whom Rossetti is accompanying to Valparaiso tomorrow. He stressed the vital necessity of keeping the project confidential here and by inference in Washington.

He also asked whether a part of the crews could be in civilian clothes. While he avoided giving a definite answer to the proposal his final [statement?] was “have confidence”.

Rossetti said that he had no intention of submitting the proposal to Ríos at this time and indicated very clearly he thought it would be impudent to do so. He said he wanted to be able to tell him at the proper time “we are armed”.

In regard to the ratification of the proposal for the breaking of relations, he said that the present Government would push this through on their own before Ríos assumes office and while they would not make it public, stated ratification would have his tacit approval.

We are seeing Rossetti again this evening.

  1. Philip W. Bonsai, Chief of the Division of the American Republics.