710 Consultation 4/12–544: Telegram

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

1888. For Armour.60 After discussion with Wright,58 saw Fernández61 at his hotel this afternoon. He was clearly startled and immediately asked what reason could be given to Senate and public for this action when nothing was done along this line more than a year ago when there was a good reason.62 He made clear also his inability to understand how countries like Bolivia with no semblance of democracy and with little internal order could sit in,63 and Chile he excluded. He said he would see the President64 tomorrow but said under the democratic institutions of Chile, the executive cannot act without senatorial approval and that the Senate in full secret session would have to be informed and its approval asked. He said he could [Page 692] and would talk confidentially with some senators but made no secret of his conviction that Alessandri66 now in Senate would pounce upon proposal demanding to know why this action is proposed at this time with nothing new on which to act. He was sure also that enemies of the regime would play politics and insist that President made proposal with view to getting certain powers for control of press. I found him in general very much distressed. The President is leaving for Viña del Mar on Friday morning for the weekend and Fernández said no definite decision could reasonably be reached before Monday. However, I shall be in Viña in connection with General Dunham’s67 mission Friday and Saturday and Fernández will let me know if anything is decided there. Wright will remain here at least through December 11.

  1. Norman Armour, Acting Director, Office of American Republic Affairs.
  2. James H. Wright, Assistant to the Director, Office of American Republic Affairs, on mission to Chile.
  3. Joaquín Fernández Fernández, Chilean Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  4. The action referred to here was a proposal that Chile take the lead among those American nations not formally at war in recognizing the existence of a state of war with the Axis.
  5. The proposed United Nations; for correspondence on the entry of Bolivia into the war, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. v, pp. 543 ff.
  6. Juan Antonio Ríos Morales.
  7. Arturo Alessandri Palma, former President of Chile.
  8. Gen. George C. Dunham of the Health and Sanitation Division, Institute of Inter-American Affairs.