740.0011 European War 1939/21679: Telegram

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

764. For Under Secretary. Had more than an hour’s conversation, a very frank one, with President Ríos and Barros Jarpa alone at the President’s private house at 10 last night. Result will be sent as soon as observations of Barros Jarpa on what I said are received.

Most important was the reply to the stated fact that Congress has not ratified the agreements of Rio. The answer is that Foreign Affairs and all matters of this sort is the exclusive prerogative of the President and that this regime opposed the submission to Congress because its submission would have been a recognition of the right of that body to interfere with [its] prerogative. Barros Jarpa said that the agreement is ratified by the President’s action in sending representatives to conferences provided for by the agreements at Rio and Montevideo. [Page 21] He said too that should the President decide to break diplomatic relations it is not his duty or his intention to consult Congress on the matter at all as this is exclusively his prerogative. In other words the position is taken that the agreements of Rio have been accepted by the Chilean Government in accordance with the constitution here. This, I recall, was the position of Aguirre Cerda 2 years ago on another matter. I am convinced that the position now assumed is sound.