811.20 (D) E.D.B./1535: Telegram

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

1241. Requests for copper by local firms to Anaconda and Braden increasing rapidly and now total something like 15,000 tons per annum against deliveries of only about 3,000 tons last year. Attracted by opportunity for large profits established copper fabricators are expanding their output and many new firms planning to enter this field.

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Reference Department’s air mail instruction 1655, June 19, 1942.

American companies are doing their best to restrict deliveries and refuse orders from newcomers but are under heavy pressure and their position is none too strong in view of the provision in the copper tax law which obliges them to supply the local market.

The Embassy has pointed out to the Chilean authorities that shortage of copper is critical and any diversion to nonessential uses directly affects our war production. Also that the entire output of Anaconda and Braden has been purchased by our Government. However, I am convinced Chile will not establish effective control over either domestic consumption or exports unless we take a really strong stand.

I therefore request authorization to inform the Chilean Government officially that it is imperative a mutual agreement be reached promptly fixing the quantities of copper that will be supplied for domestic needs and for export such quantities to be based on a study of the essential requirements of Chile, Argentina and Brazil. Furthermore, that pending the results of such a study Anaconda and Braden have been instructed to make no deliveries without the approval of the Embassy which will consult with the appropriate Chilean authorities.

With regard to the requirement study Colonel Lord76 stated that he would send an expert from the United States which is obviously desirable.

Telegraph instructions urgently.

  1. Assistant Director of the Board of Economic Warfare.