825.6363/336: Telegram

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

992. Since Nuland69 left in November last there has been gradual increase in use of motor cars in Santiago until now streets present scene which seems normal to those not accustomed to heavy prewar traffic. Various factors have been behind this increased use which has occurred despite strenuous efforts of Osvaldo Martinez, Director of Petroleum Supplies, to control it. Other officials, notably Oswaldo Palma, Director of Public Transit, Ministry of Interior, are authorized to issue transit permits for motor cars, and it is suspected that of gasoline issued to agriculturists by Fomento Corporation for tractors part at least is being used for personal convenience driving. This is perhaps normal in Chile where large landholders have much power and prestige. Butrick was yesterday confidentially assured by Murillo of Martinez office that if Martinez had full control gasoline [Page 875] consumption could be held within Nuland allotments and diesel within recently submitted diesel recommendations of Embassy.

Today Chile has on hand about month and half’s supply gasoline and present consumption is beyond Nuland formula for this period of year. I suggest Department instruct me before I leave on 11th to bring officially to attention of Chilean Government notice that Nuland quotas are being exceeded and that because of need for tankers for prosecution of war, American Government hopes Chilean Government will ration itself within quota allotted. I also suggest that I be instructed orally to inform Chilean Government of complete confidence in Martinez and to point out that centralized control of transit permits and rationing in his office would seem natural corollary to an effective control.

Additional gasoline for Chile will probably be one of requests to be made by Ríos’ party in its forthcoming visit to United States and point will probably be made that gasoline is in freer supply in Ecuador and Peru.

  1. L. H. Nuland, Executive Secretary of the Foreign Petroleum Policy Committee.