811.515/1817: Airgram

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

A–166. My despatch No. 4692 of October 19, 1942 and my airgram A–387 of November 25, 1942.96 Señor Luis Dávila E., Secretary-Attorney of the Banco Central de Chile, in a conversation with Mr. Franki of this Embassy today stated that to date the Banco Central had received and transmitted $374,363 to the United States under Chilean Decrees Nos. 4021 and 3192, of which $213,377 were transmitted on October 7, 1942, and $160,986 on December 30, 1942. According to Sr. Davila no money had been turned over to the Banco Central by the Customs authorities, who under said decrees are required to take currency in excess of $50 from travelers and to transmit same to the Banco Central for transmission to the United States. On January 13, Mr. Franki called on Sr. F. Jorquera, Under Secretary of Hacienda, to ascertain what instructions if any had been given to the Customs authorities respecting the enforcement of these provisions of the decrees, and Sr. Jorquera stated that no instructions had been issued to the Customs authorities as the decrees were self executing, and that a copy of such decrees had been immediately transmitted to the Customs authorities on the day the decrees became effective. At that time Sr. Jorquera had no information as to how the Customs authorities were performing their duties under the decrees and Mr. [Page 888] Franki suggested to Sr. Jorquera that he direct a letter to the Chief of the Customs instructing him to rigidly enforce the decrees and to report to the Sub-Secretary of Hacienda what enforcement measures had been taken, and also to make a report to the Sub-Secretary giving the name of persons from whom dollar notes had been taken, the amount thereof and other pertinent data. Sr. Jorquera stated that he would immediately write such a letter to the Customs authorities and that as soon as he had a reply, he would communicate with the Embassy. To date no information has been received from Sr. Jorquera, who will be contacted again in a few days.

Sr. Dávila today also stated to Mr. Franki that only $47,000 of the $374,363 which were transmitted to the United States had been released by the Treasury Department, which was but a small part of the $213,377 which were transmitted by the Banco Central on October 7, 1942, and that many persons whose dollar notes had been sent to the United States called on officials of the bank every day desiring to know if there was any news respecting their funds. Sr. Dávila further stated that a great many of these people complained that the Banco Central was in some way responsible for the delay and intimated that the bank was deliberately withholding information from them, although the bank accepted their bills solely for the purpose of transmitting same to the United States, without any obligation whatever to the persons owning the funds. Sr. Dávila expressed the view that it would be helpful to the Banco Central if it were advised of the names of the persons whose funds have been frozen in the United States so that it can advise these people definitely to that effect.97 In as much as the Banco Central has thus far been very cooperative, the Embassy feels that any available information as to the funds which have been definitely blocked should be transmitted to the Embassy in order that the Banco Central may be advised.

  1. Neither printed.
  2. In airgram No. A–549, February 19, the Treasury Department was reported to have approved applications covering $170,287 of the $374,363, denied $82,151, and had pending those covering $121,925. Lack of adequate information from Chile was offered as the reason for delay in the pending cases.