249. Letter From Secretary of State Rogers to Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs Almeyda 1

Dear Mr. Minister:

Knowing that Ambassador Korry would be calling on you to present a communication pertaining to the treatment of U.S. companies, I have asked him to carry this personal message from me.

As I said to you in our first and, for me, valuable conversation in San Jose, good relations between our two countries can and should be maintained.2 This common aim depends, of course, on a mutual effort to be, as you have often told Ambassador Korry, pragmatic rather than doctrinaire in the resolution of differences that might arise between our governments. Its attainment requires frank, genuine and close communication between us.

In the next weeks and months, decisions will be taken that can have significant effect on our relations. It seems to me essential that in this period our two governments should sustain a dialogue that will serve to avoid misunderstandings and to clarify areas of useful exploration. For this reason I have asked Ambassador Korry, pending the arrival of Ambassador Davis, to maintain close communication with the Government of Chile.

It is in that spirit that I want you to know that when Ambassador Korry speaks in the name of the United States Government, he does so with the complete authority and confidence of President Nixon and me.

In the case of the legislation nationalizing U.S. copper investments in Chile, we have noted the significant areas of discretion clearly reserved to President Allende and the Government of Chile and other areas of potential flexibility in establishing a valuation. The manner of implementation of the pertinent Chilean legislation will in large measure be determined by its sponsors, your government. I would hope that it would use its legal power and moral authority to promote an application of the law that would help to maintain the good relations between our countries.

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I am confident that talks between your government and the affected U.S. companies could advance that important objective.

Sincerely yours,

William P. Rogers
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL CHILE–US. No classification marking.
  2. Reported in an April 16 memorandum of conversation; see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–16, Documents on Chile, 1969–1973, Document 61.