Memorandum of Conversation, by the Director of the Office of South American Affairs (Atwood)



  • Chilean Copper (Meeting in Mr. Flemming’s Office at 4:30, August 12, 1953)
  • Participants: Mr. Arthur Flemming, Director, ODM
  • Mr. Andrew Overby, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
  • Mr. Samuel Anderson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce
  • Mr. Mansure, DMPA
  • Mr. Samuel Waugh, Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs, Dept. of State
  • Mr. John Cabot, Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs, Dept. of State
  • Mr. Rollin S. Atwood, Director, Office of South American Affairs, Dept. of State

Mr. Flemming opened the meeting and, after a few general remarks, asked Mr. Anderson to discuss his proposal regarding the Chilean copper situation. Mr. Anderson discussed his proposal as outlined in his memorandum of August 101 which suggests a procedure whereby [Page 707] the United States copper companies would seek to make arrangements directly with the Chilean Government to handle the problem of unsold accumulations of copper. The proposal involves participation by the United States but does not contemplate any direct stockpile purchases.

Following Mr. Anderson’s elaborations of his proposal, Mr. Cabot stressed the urgent need for a solution which would enable the Chilean Government to go forward with its plans for fiscal and monetary reforms and for a revision of the impossible conditions under which American companies are currently operating in Chile. The Chilean proposal to stabilize her economy and handle the problems faced by the copper companies was included in a note presented to the State Department on August 6, 1953.2 Mr. Cabot agreed that a plan along the lines outlined by Mr. Anderson should be considered and should be discussed with the copper companies to see whether it represented a possible solution of the current problem. Mr. Waugh stressed the importance of close cooperation with the companies pointing out that this problem involved both the Government and private business and that frank discussions should be held with the United States companies involved. Mr. Overby pointed out that the United States fiscal situation would make it next to impossible to approve any considerable stockpile purchase and he felt that every attempt should be made to have the companies handle this problem directly with the Chilean Government. He indicated that the American copper companies were in a very good financial position and that they should be able to work out some program for handling the accumulations of unsold copper in Chile. After considerable discussion, Mr. Flemming suggested that this problem was one which should be presented to the Defense Mobilization Board after full discussion with the companies and after consideration by the Board should probably be presented to the National Security Council.

It was agreed that Mr. Anderson would call in the top officials of the two copper companies and discuss this matter frankly with them. Mr. Flemming suggested that, following Mr. Anderson’s discussions with the companies, it might be well to have another meeting of this group in order to determine what proposals should be made to the Defense Mobilization Board and/or the National Security Council. Mr. Anderson said that following his discussions he would report to the other members of the group.

  1. Ante, p. 703.
  2. See footnote 2, p. 701.