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

No. 15,783

Sir: With reference to my despatch No. 15,672 of October 16, 194721 I have the honor to report that after prolonged negotiations the Chilean Government has announced it will hold the 42 remaining members of the former Soviet Embassy in Chile until the entire Chilean group in Moscow, including Ambassador Cruz Ocampo’s Russian daughter-in-law, is issued exit permits.

Last week Sr. Enrique Bernstein, Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, informed the Embassy privately that Argentina, which had agreed to represent Chilean interests in Moscow, had been unable to persuade the Soviet authorities to allow the departure of the Russian daughter-in-law, and that negotiations had therefore reached an impasse. Sr. Bernstein, at this time, said he believed Chile would have to give in on this point. On November 28, however, the Foreign Office issued a communiqué declaring categorically that, in view of the intransigent and inhumane position taken by the Soviet Union in this case, the Chilean Government had decided to prevent the Soviet diplomats from leaving the country until the entire Chilean group was allowed to depart in accordance with accepted diplomatic practice and international law. A copy and translation of this communiqué21 are attached.

The Under-Secretary informed an officer of my staff that the Chilean Government had changed its position after receiving indirect reports from Sr. Cruz Ocampo on the treatment he was receiving from the [Page 516] Soviet authorities. The Ambassador said he and the members of his household were being held under the most disagreeable and undignified conditions, that he was denied the use of the cable, that he was kept under strict surveillance, and that he was not allowed to speak or communicate with any ranking Soviet officials. Furthermore, the Soviet Government had refused to allow Argentina to represent Chilean interests in Moscow.

In view of these circumstances, the Chilean Government has retaliated by submitting the Soviet group to similar treatment. The use of cable communication has been prohibited, and surveillance increased. Visitors are carefully questioned and inspected on entering or leaving the Soviet residence. Telephone communications are controlled, and several other minor measures have been taken. It is the hope of the Chilean Government that these annoyances might become disagreeable enough for the Moscow Government to request that a foreign power represent its interests in Santiago, in which case it would have to accept Argentine representation of Chilean interests in Moscow.

Sr. Bernstein said the Foreign Office was studying the technical aspects of this case further, but that it believed it would soon be in a position to bring up the matter at the United Nations Human Rights Commission and other international organizations, in order to embarrass Soviet Russia with the denunciation of its totalitarian system.

The Chilean position has elicited considerable favorable comment in the country. Brief summaries of this editorial comment are enclosed.23

Respectfully yours,

Claude G. Bowers
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.