825.24/473: Telegram

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

756. El Mercurio May 16, published full details of letter addressed by Pedregal18 as press [president] of the Chilean Inter-American Development Committee to Nelson Rockefeller19 pointing out that in accordance with the American program for the economic development of the continent the Chilean Committee has submitted many carefully thought out proposals but until now not only has no concrete offer of aid been forthcoming from the United States but it has been impossible even to obtain export clearance for raw materials and equipment such as iron and steel, electrical iron and steel, electrical machinery and agricultural implements which are indispensable for [Page 87] Chile’s normal economic [apparent omission]. Special reference is made to the denial of export licenses for the machinery for the tire factory in which General Tire is interested. Pedregal asks Rockefeller’s personal intervention to obtain favorable action by the United States authorities and his specific advice regarding the cooperation which Chile can expect from the Rockefeller organization. He writes as though there had been no change in conditions since the Inter-American Committee was created and makes no reference whatever to the fact that the United States is now engaged in a war of survival.

A copy of the letter in question has been obtained and the full text will be forwarded by next air mail.20

It is dated May 12 and was given to the press without consulting the Embassy. Not only is that another instance of an attempt through misleading publicity to make it more difficult for our Government to refuse Chile’s requests but in my opinion the matter is one which should have been taken up officially by the Chilean Government and not by the head of a semi-governmental institution direct with an official of our Government in Washington without the knowledge of either the Embassy or the Department. At any rate publicity should not have been given Pedregal’s letter without the Embassy’s knowledge.

Rockefeller’s reply should of course be prepared in consultation with the Department and be transmitted through this Embassy. In this reply advantage should be taken of the opportunity to emphasize the true facts of our position which Pedregal deliberately ignored and the text should be given to United Press and Associated Press.

  1. Guillermo del Pedregal relinquished his post as Minister of Finance in February 1942 but continued to afford financial advice as the representative of this Committee and of the Chilean Development Corporation.
  2. President of the Inter-American Development Commission and Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs.
  3. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Ambassador in Chile in despatch No. 3370, May 20 (not printed).