740.0011 EW/12–2944: Telegram

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

1981. Saw Fernández in response to urtel 1259, December 26, 8 p.m. He is clearly distressed over predicament in which he and President are placed and he has been seeking a method made extremely difficult and delicate at this moment since the country is at the beginning of a bitter contest in congressional elections. Death of a radical Senator leaves administration with one less than a majority and our proposal would have to be submitted to Senate by President and the resulting debate would probably extend for a month. He himself is the target for all our enemies because of his many actions along our line and he has just emerged from his fight in Senate over establishing relations with Russia triumphant over Alessandri but only because he was able to read Alessandri’s instruction to Cruchaga, his Foreign Minister, urging recognition of Russia and Cruchaga’s instructions to Chilean Minister in Bern to join in urging Russia to join the league and to be very friendly with the Russian representatives. [Page 700] This killed the debate. But Fernández’ action in bringing rupture with Axis, his insistence on action against Nazi spies and agents, his stout insistence on carrying out the Rio plan for economic and financial control,80 his withdrawal of Conrado Ríos81 from Buenos Aires, his support of our position on Argentina have made him anathema to every Fascist, Nazi, Spanish Falangist and pro-Argentine, and today’s El Chileno has a violent attack on him. Were he to go before the Senate with the statement that after all this Chile is to be given a subordinate position and not considered as of the United Nations, his enemies who are distinctly ours will ridicule his whole policy as failing to get even recognition as with the United Nations. At this time this would be largely political because of coming elections but all the more violent on that account. All this I know to be true.

He proposes with our consent only to seek an agreement with Russia and Great Britain to include Chile in the meeting of United Nations on the strength of her contributions and cooperation in the war. Should such consent be given, he would instruct Mora to approach the Russian Ambassador in Washington,82 but without that consent Mora will remain in utter ignorance of the mission of Wright.
He asks if at all possible that the submission of proposition to the other nations of South America be postponed to give more time. The Russian matter has occupied him constantly until the other night.
If or when he goes to Consultative Meeting of Ministers in Mexico could stop off in Washington to consult with Stettinius or he could send a special envoy now for the purpose.

Observations. Since Wright was here the difficulties have increased because of the fight on Russian recognition and the speeding up of the election campaign. His position and that of President is momentarily most difficult and, in view of his many courageous stands for things we want, I think we should go the limit of possibilities in protecting him against his enemies who are ours.

Would appreciate early reply to points 1 and 3.

To make matters worse, Ríos who foolishly rushed back to work in 5 weeks after major operation has been forced by physician to spend next 2 months in Viña for a rest. If possible to postpone action contemplated until after election, serious obstacles would be removed.

  1. Recommendation V adopted at the meeting in Rio de Janeiro; for text, see Pan American Union, Congress and Conference Series No. 36: Report on the Third Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American Republics, Rio de Janeiro, January 15–28, 1942 (Washington, 1942), p. 38; for correspondence on this meeting, see Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. v, pp. 6 ff.
  2. Chilean Ambassador to Argentina.
  3. Andrey Andreyevich Gromyko.