The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Chile (Bowers)
169. Your 253, February 12, 10 p.m. The War Department has reluctantly agreed to send the four batteries to Chile, accompanied by 100 enlisted men. In addition, it will be necessary for administrative and other reasons to assign two officers to each battery, making a grand total of 108 officers and men.
The Department is aware of the various considerations which have induced the Chilean Government to take the stand it has taken with regard to the number of men. It must be stated that, as a result of the decision now taken by our War Department at the request of the Chilean Government, the batteries during the first few months after their arrival in Chile will be of considerably less value for defense purposes than if they had been manned from the start by experienced personnel. The Chilean Government has, therefore, incurred an extremely grave responsibility under all the circumstances. Please make [Page 14] this entirely repeat entirely clear to the Foreign Minister, preferably in writing.
At the present time only four batteries are available for Chile. The possibility at a later date of providing a fifth battery for Lota will be borne in mind.
Arrangements are being expedited to send the batteries forward and it is hoped that they may arrive early in March.27
Administrative details, as well as the nature of the preparations which should be made by the Chilean Army, will be telegraphed to you urgently. These preparations will include extensive assistance in unloading and placing the guns.
You will, of course, impress upon the Chilean authorities, both civil and military, the extreme importance of secrecy as to the dates and other details of the contemplated movement.
- For establishment of the batteries, see Stetson Conn and Byron Fairchild, The Framework of Hemisphere Defense, in the series United States Army in World War II: The Western Hemisphere (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1960), pp. 202–203.↩