The Ambassador in Chile (Bowers) to the Secretary of State
372. Attention Marshall, Lovett and Armour.1 Report in press of recent sale to Argentina of a quantity of arms most disturbing. In addition have been advised that Department of Army recently sold fifty 90 mm guns which seems here to be preferential treatment for Argentina. Effect here exceedingly bad and may hasten purchase from England of Ajax and other ships for the navy as well as all types military equipment in open market by Chilean armed forces (Embtel 366, June 92). Unless Congress passes before adjournment inter-American military cooperation act Chile probably will be forced in self defense buy elsewhere than from US. Our prestige in military circles was very high until recently but it has undergone slump which is most disturbing to Embassy.
It is impossible persuade Chileans to share in confidence of some quarters at home in the peaceful intentions or the democracy of Perón. The fear of Argentine intentions here is most real and in my opinion entirely justified. Suggest you read military attaché’s report 89–482 to Department of Army.