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

No. 4954

Sir: Reference is made to the Embassy’s despatch no. 12078 of May 9, 1945 enclosing a proposal of the Chilean Government to grant unilaterally to the United States, reductions in import duties on a number of products on which Chile had granted concessions to France in the now-terminated treaty with that country, and statistical data compiled by the Embassy in this regard. The Department greatly appreciates the time and effort spent by the Embassy in obtaining statistical information to show the significance of the proposed concessions to United States trade with Chile in the commodities involved. While awaiting the original of the Chilean proposal, the Department received a copy from the Chilean Embassy in Washington and this has been used to study the proposal. The Department had noted what the Embassy has referred to as errata in the concession list, in that in the case of certain items “legal kilo” has been substituted for “net kilo”, but it was assumed that this was intentional on the part of the Chilean officials. If these changes are in fact errata, the Embassy should point this out to the Chilean officials, and in any case it would be desirable to have “net kilo” used instead of “legal kilo”.

The Department has also received from the Chilean Embassy a copy of an internal Chilean governmental memorandum, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Treaty Commission, setting forth various reasons why the proposed arrangement would be desirable from the Chilean point of view. A translation of this memorandum is enclosed97 for the information of the Embassy, in case a copy of it has not been furnished the Embassy by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If the Embassy has not received a copy, reference should not be made to it, in case the Chilean Embassy, in supplying a copy to the Department, did so without authorization. For this reason also, the Embassy will note that in the enclosed memorandum to be handed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,97 reference has been made only to “the impression” received that the Chilean Government was to some extent linking the concessions now offered, with concession to be obtained from the United States in the future.

It has been decided to accept the Chilean proposal with the qualifications set forth in the enclosed memorandum which, if the Embassy perceives no objection, should as noted above be handed to the appropriate officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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It is important that the Chilean officials understand clearly that in accepting this proposal, this Government is in no way committing or obligating itself to give favorable consideration to other Chilean proposals in connection with the negotiation of a formal trade agreement, provided that a basis for such an agreement can be established. This is particularly important in view of the fact that the Chilean proposals for a definitive trade agreement included requests for concessions of a type which cannot be granted even if the Congress acts favorably on the legislation now before it.

In view of possible public misunderstanding, it is also important that no publicity be given to the Chilean proposal, and that the exchange of notes on the subject not take place, until instructions to that effect have been received from the Department. You may inform the Chilean authorities that the delay desired should not be long, as it is hoped that action on the trade-agreements legislation may be completed by the Congress by June 12, the date on which the present authority expires, or shortly thereafter.

The Department is desirous of developing a program of modern treaties of friendship, commerce and navigation with the other American republics and with other countries, and the basis for the negotiation of such a treaty with Chile would be somewhat strengthened by a public expression of willingness on the part of the two governments to enter into such negotiations. You should therefore urge the Chilean officials to accept the proposal to that effect as set forth in the enclosed memorandum.

You are requested to inform the Department regarding the reaction of Chilean officials to the changes in the Chilean note proposed in the enclosed memorandum.

As a basis for later telegraphic communications on the subject, there is also enclosed a draft in English98 based on the inclusion of all of the Department’s suggestions for revisions in the Spanish draft of the Chilean note. The United States reply note would be the same as that enclosed with the memorandum to be handed to the Chilean officials, except for the addition of the paragraph regarding the treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation, which can be added to both notes if acceptable to the Chilean authorities. The Department will transmit to you shortly, for discussion with the Chilean officials, a draft press release to accompany the texts of the notes when made public. It is important that the comment to be given to the press should be substantially the same in both Santiago and Washington.

Very truly yours,

For the Acting Secretary of State:
William L. Clayton
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