701.5125/29: Telegram

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

289. Chilean press today features an exchange of notes between French Minister d’Hybouville and Chilean Foreign Office. Minister’s note stated that he was disregarding orders from Vichy to leave Chile with his entire staff, closing Legation. Note stated that while his instructions emphasized that this action did not signify severance of diplomatic relations he was opposed to such action as not being in accordance with actual situation or traditional friendship between the two countries.

According[ly] he had presented his resignation to Government, “directed by Laval”26 and had “given his adherence to General [Page 808] Giraud, High Commissioner in French Africa and successor to Admiral Darlan, the legitimate representative of the Marshal”.27 He stated further that he was “ready with my collaborators to cooperate in task undertaken by General Giraud in accord with the United States and its Allies in order to insure liberation of French territory and to return France to position in the peaceful Europe of tomorrow to which it is entitled among the nations of good will desirous of regulating their international relations in accordance with principles of our Christian civilization”.

Minister of Foreign Affairs replied that “desirous of manifesting the admiration of the Chilean people for France and for its secular contribution to Western civilization and culture, the Government of Chile had resolved to continue” to consider d’Hybouville as “the representative of the French nation, its tradition and its future”.

In addition to publishing the official note the press carried an inspired statement to the effect that the recognition of d’Hybouville “as representative of the French nation[”]—and not of the Government of Vichy nor of General Giraud—did not signify the severance of Chilean-French relations.

Action of Chilean Government in promptly recognizing d’Hybouville “representative of the French nation” has caused consternation among the French colony which is 90% Free French. While there is some recognition that d’Hybouville is the type of functionary who obeys orders from constituted authority there is much feeling over such incidents as his frequent acceptance of invitations to the German Embassy prior to Chile’s break with the Axis.

Reference my 238, February 4, 3 p.m.28

  1. Pierre Laval, Premier in the Vichy Government.
  2. Marshal Henri Philippe Petain, Chief of State in the Vichy Government.
  3. Not printed.