740.0011 Pacific War/1900: Telegram

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

266. For the Under Secretary. From a most reliable source I was informed today that the Japanese Minister called on Señor Rossetti and told him that Japan planned sending a convoyed flotilla to Chile for the purpose of purchasing copper, nitrate and manganese at good prices. Señor Rossetti informed the Minister that all Chile’s raw materials had already been sold to the United States. The Minister then said that they would bring much needed merchandise from Japan to sell to Chile and the Foreign Minister told him that Chile lacked exchange. When the Japanese Minister said that credits could be arranged Señor Rossetti said it would not be convenient. The Japanese Minister asked what impression would be made here by a Japanese attack on Panama. The Foreign Minister told him that Chile would probably declare war immediately on Japan. The Japanese Minister stated that Japan considered Panama as United States territory. The Foreign Minister said that Chileans did not. The Japanese Minister asked what would happen if Japan sank Peruvian merchantmen. The Foreign Minister said it would make a very bad impression here as would the sinking of any American boats or attack on any American soil. The Japanese Minister admitted that there were Japanese submarines operating in these waters. [Page 15] He concluded by saying that the Japanese campaign in the Orient would be completed by April including the occupation of Australia and that after that time Japan intended resuming her trade with South America. The Foreign Minister was deeply impressed with the conversation of the Japanese Minister.