The Ambassador in Chile (Bowers) to the Secretary of State
308. Vergara1 says Chile and especially Chilean Army much interested in the rather remarkably large military mission from Argentina headed by Minister of War2 going to Washington. It is thought here that purpose is to acquire great amount military equipment and probably to get assistance in the building and expansion of arms factories in Argentine. Should this develop the economic effect on Chile will be serious since the armed forces here would demand heavy [Page 318] appropriations to meet resulting danger from Argentina. Vergara thinks most South American countries would be concerned over our assistance in building up a powerful military machine by Perón.3
Vergara asks if we can give him any reassurance as to purpose of Argentine mission and as to our disposition. (Comment.) I know that when General Crittenberger4 spent about ten days in Buenos Aires in close contact with Argentine Army and passing through Chile stayed a little more than a day there was much speculation here as to significance and this followed by the Argentine mission to Washington has not unnaturally created serious concern. Anything we may be able to report to Vergara would be appreciated by Embassy.