Franklin D. Roosevelt photo

Message to the President of Chile on the Earthquake.

January 26, 1939

I requested Ambassador Armour this morning in view of the tragic disaster which had befallen your country to ascertain from the authorities of Your Excellency's Government what assistance this Government might render. Ambassador Armour informed me that it was believed that serums, dried milk and clothing were urgently required.

As a preliminary step the American Red Cross has already telegraphed $10,000 to the Chilean Red Cross after learning that such assistance would be of service, and has already arranged for a large quantity of serums to be sent by the Pan American Airways leaving Miami Saturday.

In accordance with my instructions a Douglas twin-engine bomber of the United States Army is leaving the Canal Zone immediately carrying serums, powdered milk and certain other supplies. The Field Director of the American Red Cross in the Canal Zone is leaving on the plane in order to offer his services and to ascertain personally in what further way the American Red Cross may be of help.

The Civil Aeronautics Authority is cooperating actively and has authorized the Pan American Grace Airways to take planes off scheduled runs in order to utilize them in the emergency. I have been informed that already three of their planes are engaged in this work. The War Department has planes available and ready to fly supplies from the Canal Zone, and other planes are ready at Langley Field should it be necessary to use them.

We are all particularly impressed with the splendid spirit of courage and fortitude which the people of Chile have exhibited in this catastrophe as well as the manner in which the authorities have organized to meet the national emergency.

I shall welcome any information Your Excellency may send me as to any further ways in which this Government may be of assistance. We are desirous of doing everything within our power to be of help.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Message to the President of Chile on the Earthquake. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Simple Search of Our Archives