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Exchange of Messages Between the President and President Alessandri Concerning the Disaster in Chile.

June 08, 1960

Dear Mr. President:

I am deeply distressed at the indications of hardship and suffering being undergone now by the people of your nation and have just issued the following public statement:

"The people of the United States are appalled at the disaster that has struck the friendly, hard-working people of Chile. Earthquakes, tidal waves, avalanches and volcanic eruptions have brought extremely serious personal casualties and heavy material damage that will take years to overcome.

"Many people in Chile are homeless, injured and poorly clothed. It is now winter in Chile. The disaster area is one of heavy rainfall. Hence the extent of personal suffering being experienced by Chileans is almost beyond comprehension.

"The United States Government is doing all it can to assist the Government of Chile and the Chilean people in this catastrophe.

"In addition, I urge all our people promptly to demonstrate once again the great generosity so characteristic of them. The Chileans need help of many kinds--medicine tents, clothing, food and other things. Cash contributions can be made to the American Red Cross. Contributions of material goods can be made through many voluntary organizations which, I am informed, are issuing local appeals. I have asked General Alfred M. Gruenther, President of the American Red Cross, to arrange for the coordination of this voluntary material assistance."


Note: President Alessandri's message follows:

Dear Mr. President:

I sincerely thank Your Excellency for the message you were so good as to transmit to me, informing me of the public appeal made by you to the people of the United States to give their generous assistance in the tragic, difficult emergency our country must meet as a result of the earthquakes, tidal waves, and volcanic eruptions that have caused great suffering and exceptionally serious material damage. Your Excellency's appeal, the exemplary significance of which I wish to emphasize, reveals once more your warm friendship toward the people of Chile and admirably bespeaks the noble sentiments and Christian solidarity of the' people of the United States, in whom we see the basis of your nation's greatness.

Accept, Excellency, the sincere thanks of the Government and people of Chile for your noble action, together with my deep personal gratitude.

The statement quoted in the President's letter was released by the White House on May 27.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Exchange of Messages Between the President and President Alessandri Concerning the Disaster in Chile. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/234589

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