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

No. 15,666

Sir: With reference to my telegram No. 792, October 10, 194712 regarding the shots which were fired at the Soviet Embassy building on the morning of October 10, I have the honor to report certain additional information.

The police court declaration states that the shooting took place at 3:15 in the morning from an automobile speeding by the Embassy. The shots entered the second floor apartment occupied by Civil Attaché Sergei P. Eguiazarov and family. The Soviet coat of arms over the [Page 507] main entrance was also hit. An examination of the bullets revealed that they were 12 millimeter machine gun bullets.

In the declaration made by the policeman detailed to guard the Soviet Embassy he stated that upon hearing the shots he had tried to enter the Embassy to ascertain whether there had been personal injuries, but that he was told by direction of the Ambassador that he would not be allowed to enter the building until after 10 o’clock in the morning.

At a reception on October 10 Ambassador Zhukov told an officer of my staff that when the shots were heard two of his secretaries went out to look for the policeman on guard and that not only was he not at his place of duty, but that no policeman could be found within an area of several blocks from the Embassy. (Referring to the shooting, the President’s anti-Communist measures and the expulsion of the Yugoslav diplomats, Ambassador Zhukov jokingly remarked “these must be interesting days for the American Embassy.”)

Up to the present no progress has been made in identifying the perpetrators of this act or even the automobile from which the shots were fired.13

While the Chilean Government has presented its official apologies for the incident, it is evident the Soviet Embassy feels the protection afforded by the Chilean Government was insufficient. (In this connection, however, it should be borne in mind that owing to the serious coal strike situation numerous policemen have had to be withdrawn from the capital and only one was assigned to protect two Embassies, the other being about two blocks away from the Soviet Embassy. At the time of the shooting the policeman happened to be at the other end of the beat.)

The Acting Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs14 stated privately today that the Chilean Government was embarrassed over this and other disagreeable incidents of which the Soviet Ambassador has been the victim. On several recent occasions he has been hooted by the public and yesterday at the annual banquet given by the powerful National Agricultural Society, to which all chiefs of missions were invited, insults were shouted at the Ambassador as he was leaving the function. The Under Secretary said that while this was not a matter in which the Government could intervene, the Foreign Minister had insinuated to the president of the organization that apologies be made to the Ambassador.

Respectfully yours,

Claude G. Bowers
  1. Not printed.
  2. According to the Ambassador’s despatch 15, January 8, 1948, the tribunal before which the case was presented suspended proceedings because of lack of evidence to identify the perpetrators and because the Russians failed to participate in the proceedings (701.6125/1–848).
  3. Enrique Bernstein.