825.20 Missions/11–1945

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

Dear Claude: I had already drafted a reply to the questions about some of our missions in Chile raised in your letter of November 19, 1945,54 but as a result of the meeting of the Staff Committee on December 11 when the interim program for certain military ground equipment to the American republics was approved, I have been obliged to revise my letter.

As you no doubt know, the interim program was set up to provide certain material, in partial implementation, without awaiting full implementation of the Staff Conversations and insofar as Chile is concerned this means the equipment for one Infantry regiment (3,200 men) and one battalion Field Artillery (550 men). This, I understand, represents 13% of the ground force requirements.

With regard to full implementation of the Staff Conversations, this will require consideration at the Rio de Janeiro meeting where the question of overall hemisphere defense will be gone into and there may be some modifications in the recommendations which emanated from the Staff Conversations. Many of these recommendations seem to us to need careful ironing out before they are implemented. In the meantime, the interim program can go forward as rapidly as details can be worked out and the interim ground material for Chile should, I think, on the basis of our information, be deliverable in about two months.

The equipment for the Navy has been held up by uncertainty in our own Navy Department, which has not submitted any request to us for material discussed in the preliminary Staff Conversations with Chile.

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With regard to the work of our Aviation Mission in Chile, it is possible for them under existing decisions to obtain training planes as well as transports. However, amplification of this program for other than demilitarized planes must await authorization after future consultation.

Now that some of our ground material can go forward, the question of a ground mission should continue to be dealt with as indicated in the Department’s telegrams of June 27 and September 26, 1945,55 respectively, in order not to involve a commitment for deliveries which uncertain factors might prevent us from fulfilling.

I can assure you that I am giving the questions raised in your letter my active and careful personal attention and I expect to meet with War and Navy Department officials on Monday in a further discussion of material not covered in the interim ground equipment decision, in preparation for taking them up at the Rio meeting and for inclusion in our own essential enabling legislation. The results of these meetings and the text of a note which we propose to address to the American republics’ missions here will be made available as promptly as possible. I hope that I have made clear that we are in sympathy with your recommendations and that everything possible is being done to attain the objective we seek.

With regard to the Cruchaga case,56 I, too, am glad that it is finally settled without Chile being asked to pay.

Your comments on Communistic trends were very interesting and activities there appear to follow the general pattern of their attitude in the other American republics.


Spruille Braden
  1. Not printed.
  2. Nos. 519 and 770, pp. 745 and 752, respectively.
  3. Miguel Cruchaga represented Chile at the United Nations Conference on International Organization, held at San Francisco, April 25–June 26, 1945. His illness and subsequent return to Chile raised a question as to responsibility for the costs of his return trip via a United States military plane.