Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)
The Chilean Ambassador31 called to see me this morning at his request in order that Señor Desiderio García, representative of the Fomento Corporation of Chile, could say goodby to me before he left for Santiago.
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Señor García stated that he had come to the United States some two months ago, arriving some two weeks before the anticipated arrival of President Ríos, in order that he might serve as a member of the President’s advisory committee on economic and financial problems, which the President had hoped to discuss with the United States Government, He said that since that time he had busied himself with obtaining machinery, both new and second-hand, which the Fomento Corporation desired for Chile, and he emphasized the difficulties he had had in this regard owing to the stringent export control on machinery of this character.
I remarked that of course Chile, like all of the American Republics, including the United States, was under difficulties at the present moment in obtaining imports for civilian needs, and that I believed these difficulties were nothing compared to the economic difficulties which [Page 95] would afflict the American republics in the period immediately after the end of the war. I said that at the present time Chile, except for her difficulty in getting imports was in an admirable economic situation owing to the fact that every scrap of metal which she could produce and her nitrates were being sold to the United States. I said it was obvious that this type of market would not exist in the post-war period and that it was for that reason that I had been much impressed by what the President of Ecuador32 had said to me last night upon his arrival in Washington on a visit which we most cordially welcome, namely, that he believed that the intimate and understanding economic cooperation of the American Republics after the war was even more to their interest and advantage than their economic cooperation during the war, important as that might be. I said that of course the Republics which were now joined together in the war effort had established that kind of indispensable basis for future cooperation in the post-war period which would prove invaluable to all of them. I said that I regretted, of course, more deeply than Señor García could appreciate that the Government of Chile was not taking part in this great inter-American cooperative effort, since her participation would be greatly valued and would certainly be, from every standpoint, to the interests of the people of Chile.
Señor García immediately asked if I had read the statements published this morning which had been made yesterday by the President of Chile, and I replied that I had. Señor García then expressed the hope that the time would be short before Chile and the other American Republics joined in the war effort would be cooperating closer together.