033.1110 Wallace, Henry A./228

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

Dear Mr. Welles: You no doubt know of the most remarkable reception accorded Wallace in Chile. I accompanied him everywhere except to Valparaiso one day when I sent Butrick,24 and to the north, where I sent Heath.25 To condense, let me say that never in Chilean history has any foreigner been received with such extravagant and evidently sincere enthusiasm. Great crowds lined the streets shouting and cheering, small groups of farm workers lined the country roads, and great numbers were always standing before any house he had entered. The mass meeting at the stadium, with 100,000 people, and 80,000 of them seated, was one of the two greatest popular assemblies I have ever seen anywhere. In the mining town of Lota 40,000 miners, including wives, greeted him at a mass meeting and there Wallace made his best speech.

My impressions are more to the point. The visit is memorable because—

(1) It has demonstrated beyond all doubt the ardent democracy of the Chilean people and thus has given more confidence to Rios and the Government which had been too much impressed by what it heard at the Union Club, et cetera. Thus, too, it has helped consolidate our victory in the matter of the rupture.26

(2) It has resulted in the unification of all parties as never before. The leaders of all parties united in a declaration to the people; they [Page 67] served together in the work of the committees; and actually on the southern trip I took with Wallace, Aldunate, chief of the Conservatives who opposed rupture to the last, and Labarca, chief of the Communists, were along on the same train, in the same coach, and all went well.

(3) The press publicity is without precedent. All papers have been flooded with the news and before and during the visit with special articles on Wallace and the United States. We furnished the special articles. The papers ran long and ably written editorials that have had the ring of sincerity.

(4) I have been delighted with the attitude not only of the opposition Rightist parties, but with that of the Church and the Army. The lovely old Archbishop, Caro, who is a good friend of mine and of our cause, attended every function conspicuously, even going on long trips into the country, though more than eighty years old. He is a Liberal and enormously popular with the masses of the people. In Concepcion, the Archbishop there, also a friend of mine, went everywhere with us and at his request I rode in his car in the streets. This attitude of the Church given an opportunity for manifestation has been effective.

Wallace was put up at the beautiful Military Club, recently the home of Gustavo Ross; the Army and Navy gave a luncheon in his honor; Admirals and Generals accompanied him throughout the trip. You know, in view of the Army background, the significance of this.

(4) [(5)] Wallace is most simpático. His simplicity of manner, his mingling with all sorts of people, his visit to the workers quarters without notice and his talks there with them and his inspection of the housing projects absolutely amazed the masses who responded almost hysterically.

Ríos and Fernández27 are delighted and I know feel strengthened in their position. I think they can go ahead now with greater confidence.

I had two weeks at Zapallar which were spoiled by two or three telegrams daily with problems pertaining to the program which kept my mind at work as much as if I had been in the office, and the trips with Wallace were no rest. I am returning for two weeks to Zapallar to finish my vacation.

I had a large reception for the Americans, a dinner for the staff so all could see Wallace and Duggan, a state dinner attended by Ríos, Fernández, Chief Justice, Presidents of Senate and House, Admirals and Generals, Senator Walker, Conservative, Senator Maza, Liberal, Marcial Mora, Radical, with their wives—about forty-two; and this dinner merged with a reception attended by about 700.

Warmest regards,

Claude G Bowers
  1. Richard P. Butrick, Counselor of Embassy for Economic Affairs.
  2. Donald R. Heath, Counselor of Embassy.
  3. For correspondence on the Chilean rupture of diplomatic relations with the Axis, see pp. 795 ff.
  4. Joaquín Fernández y Fernández, Chilean Minister for Foreign Affairs.