The Ambassador in Chile (Bowers) to the Secretary of State
783. Issue raised in Chile by Communist coal strike is now on purely political ground and should be so considered. Our war with Communists is on two fronts, Europe and South America. Issue on latter front concentrated on revolutionary lines in Chile is now acute and while serious in its possibilities is being met forcefully by President with staunch support all political parties but Communists. Coal strike if continued will stop ships, trains, close factories, create unemployment and distress which is Communist strategy. Our cooperation in [Page 505] fight would be in standing by to supply as much coal as possible which would carry with Italians [Chileans?] proof of our moral support so much desired by Chilean Govt and people. To meet this crisis with actual reduction in coal allocations (Deptel 491, October 7) will inevitably create impression here we are indifferent to struggle now in decisive state.
While we probably cannot supply all coal asked, we feel situation demands material increase in allocations especially for November. Any other course will have serious repercussions, discourage our friends and have bad effect on armed forces (which today called up 5,500 reserves). It is common belief here that result of test international Communism now concentrating on here will have decisive effect throughout South America. It would, therefore, in my opinion be grave mistake overlook predominant political significance Chilean situation which overshadows lesser issues and that it is our duty stand by. I believe that with reasonable cooperation from US battle will be won and will not last through December–January for which President prefers make provision. With the knowledge that through our help in supplying coal the Communist purpose is defeated, I think it probable miners will resume work especially in view unprecedented concessions (mytel 782, October 8, 6 p.m.10) government gave in drastic (40 percent) wage increase, housing, family allowance, weekly wage et cetera.
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