810.20 Defense/1–1645: Telegram
The Ambassador in Chile (Bowers) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 17—2:57 a.m.]
71. Meeting Brett Commission with Chilean officials at 9:15 resulted in acceptance of agenda proposed. The conversations and atmosphere most friendly and agreeable throughout. At luncheon I gave at noon Chileans seemed in happy frame of mind.
However, questions were asked and pressed covering matters Brett does not feel within his jurisdiction because political and these have been submitted to me by Brett. The agenda prepared by Brett’s [Page 735] headquarters for the conduct of the staff conversations are based upon directives issued by the Joint United States’ Chiefs of Staff.
(1) From the agenda: “The United States will employ its Armed Forces to assist any republic to defeat attacks on it by the Armed Forces of a non-American state, or by fifth column groups supported by non-American state, when requested so to do by the recognized government of the republic concerned.”
The Chileans inquire what basis of understanding to this effect is to be provided which is more binding than an unwritten assurance to this effect. They make the point that this does not indicate our attitude in case of trouble between two American nations, even though Chile should be attacked by Argentina which we ourselves believe to be inspired by Nazi Germany.
Though they did not press this point they suggested the substitution of “constitutional” for “recognized government”, evidently having Bolivia in mind.
(2) From agenda: “This Government is committed to collaboration with other American Republics through inter-American and bilateral arrangements for mutual defense. It has been this Government’s policy to avoid entering into formal offensive and defensive alliances.”
Referring to bilateral arrangements, Chile would prefer a formal arrangement as in a treaty, since it feels that this would discourage any irresponsible attacks. The Chileans make the point that as stands the attack would begin before anyone would know of our intentions. They suggest the advantage of an assurance that in case of an unprovoked attack on any American nation we would support the nation attacked. But they assume that the last sentence makes this impossible, since this would amount to a defensive alliance.
(3) From the agenda under “assumption made by the United States”: “that the American Republics will in future, have a role to play, within the framework of a general security organization, in the maintenance of peace and security within this hemisphere.”
The Chileans inquire if this means that Chile will be within the framework, and if so, is this to be by virtue of a treaty of written assurance. I personally suspect this refers back to the conversations when Wright was here11 in which it appeared possible that since Chile is only an “associate” and not [a member?] of the United Nations she may not be permitted to sit in on the creation of this organization for the preservation of peace.
These questions are not interfering at all with the conversations which are going along so well that Brett feels tomorrow’s meeting will [Page 736] end all the important actual preliminaries and the special committees will then proceed with the practical features.
President Ríos is giving luncheon at summer palace in Vija12 Thursday for Brett, General Smith, Colonel Fitzpatrick, Captain Quintana Fernández, General[s?] Carrasco and Mejetes.
- See Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. vii, pp. 691 ff., passim.↩
- Presumably Viña del Mar.↩