U.S. Department of State 
Background Notes: Chile, March 1998
Released by the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs. 

OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Chile 



Area: 756,945 sq. km. (302,778 sq. mi.); nearly twice the size of 
Cities: Capital--Santiago (metropolitan area est. 5.2 million). Other 
cities--Concepcion-Talcahuano (840,000); Vina del Mar-Valparaiso 
(800,000); Antofagasta (245,000); Temuco (230,000). 
Terrain: Desert in north; fertile central valley; volcanoes and lakes 
toward the south, giving way to rugged and complex coastline; Andes 
Mountains on the eastern border. 
Climate: Arid in north, Mediterranean in the central portion, cool and 
damp in south. 


Nationality: Noun and adjective--Chilean(s).
Population (1997): 14.6 million.
Annual population growth rate: 1.5%.
Ethnic groups: Spanish-Native-American (mestizo), European, Native-
Religions: Roman Catholic 89%; Protestant 11%.
Language: Spanish.
Education: Years compulsory--8. Attendance--3 million. Adult literacy 
Health: Infant mortality rate--17/1,000. Life expectancy--72 yrs.
Work force (5.2 million): Services and government--36%. Industry and 
commerce--34%. Agriculture, forestry, and fishing--14%. Construction--
7%. Mining--2%.


Type: Republic.
Independence: September 18, 1810.
Constitution: Promulgated September 11, 1980; effective March 11, 1981; 
amended in 1989 and 1993.
Branches: Executive--president. Legislative--bicameral legislature. 
Judicial--Constitutional Tribunal, Supreme Court, court of appeals, 
military courts.
Administrative subdivisions: 12 numbered regions, plus Santiago 
metropolitan region, administered by appointed "intendentes," regions 
are divided into provinces, administered by appointed governors; 
provinces are divided into municipalities administered by elected 
Political parties: Major parties are the Christian Democrat Party, the 
National Renewal Party, the Party for Democracy, the Socialist Party, 
the Independent Democratic Union, and the Radical Social Democratic 
Party. The Communist Party has not won a congressional seat in the last 
three elections. 
Suffrage: Universal at 18, including foreigners legally resident for 
more than five years. 

Economy (1997) 

GDP: $77.1 billion.
Annual real growth rate: 7.1%.
Per capita GDP: $5,280.
Mining (8.2% of GDP): Copper, iron ore, nitrates, precious metals, and 
Forestry, agriculture and fisheries (7.5% of GDP): Products--wheat, 
potatoes, corn, sugar beets, onions, beans, fruits, livestock, fish.
Industry (15.3% of GDP): Types--mineral refining, metal manufacturing, 
food processing, fish processing, paper and wood products, finished 
Trade (1996): Exports--$15.4 billion: copper, fishmeal, fruits, wood 
products, paper products. Major markets--EU 24%, U.S. 17%, Japan 16%, 
U.K. 6%, Brazil 6%, South Korea 6%, Germany 5%, Argentina 5%. Imports--
$17.4 billion: petroleum, chemical products, capital goods, vehicles, 
electronic equipment, consumer durables, machinery. Major suppliers--
U.S. 24%, EU 20%, Argentina 9%, Brazil 6%, Japan 5%, Germany 4%.


Relations between the United States and Chile are better now than at any 
other time in history. The United States Government applauded the 
rebirth of democratic practices in Chile in the late 1980s and early 
1990s and sees the maintenance of a vibrant democracy and healthy 
economy as among the most important U.S. interests in Chile. President 
Eduardo Frei's February 1997 state visit to the United States forged 
close ties with President Clinton, leading to the latter's state visit 
to Chile in April 1998. The two governments consult frequently on issues 
of mutual concern, and dialogue takes place in four bilateral 
commissions (on defense, global security, agriculture, and science). 

Many prominent Americans and senior U.S. officials visited Chile during 
the period 1995-1997, including Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton, ex-
Presidents Carter, Bush, and Ford, former Secretary of State 
Christopher, and many other members of the Cabinet and Congress, and 
senior members of the U.S. military, concerning a large range of issues 
from education through international trade. 

The warm relationship enjoyed by United States and Chile today contrasts 
with the difficult period of relations during Augusto Pinochet's 
military regime from 1973-89. A 1976 car bomb attack in Washington, DC, 
which killed Orlando Letelier, former Chilean ambassador to the United 
States and a member of President Salvador Allende's cabinet, and U.S. 
citizen Ronni Moffitt, caused a sharp deterioration in relations, 
including a ban on security assistance and arms sales to Chile. In 
response to a commitment by President Aylwin's Government to pursue the 
Letelier-Moffitt case within the Chilean judicial system, President Bush 
lifted the sanctions. A Chilean court subsequently convicted two Chilean 
military officers of having ordered the assassination. 

The goal of U.S. foreign policy in Chile is to pursue expanded economic 
relations and to cooperate on a range of bilateral and multilateral 
issues of interest. Above all, the United States believes that an 
economically strong and democratically healthy Chile will benefit the 
entire hemisphere. 

U.S. Embassy Functions 

Besides working closely with Chilean Government officials to improve our 
bilateral relationship, the U.S. Embassy in Santiago provides a wide 
range of services to U.S. citizens and businesses in Chile. (Please see 
the Embassy's home page: http://www.rdc.cl/~usemb for details of these 
services.) The embassy is also the locus for a number of American 
community activities in the Santiago area. 

Attaches at the embassy from the Foreign Commercial Service and Foreign 
Agriculture Service work closely with the hundreds of U.S. companies 
which maintain offices in Chile. These officers provide information on 
Chilean trade and industry regulations and administer several programs 
intended to aid U.S. companies starting or maintaining business ventures 
in Chile. 

The Consular section of the embassy provides vital services to the more 
than 5,500 U.S. citizens residing in Chile. Among other services, the 
Consular section assists Americans who wish to participate in U.S. 
elections while abroad and provides U.S. tax information. Besides the 
U.S. residents living in Chile, over 80,000 U.S. citizens visit 
annually. The Consular section offers passport and emergency services to 
U.S. tourists as needed during their stay in Chile.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials 

Ambassador--Gabriel Guerra-Mondragon
Deputy Chief of Mission--Charles S. Shapiro
Economic and Political Counselor--Stephen Wesche
Agricultural Counselor--Richard J. Blabey 
Consul General--Thomas J. Rice
Administrative Counselor--David Davison
Commercial Counselor--Carlos F. Poza
Defense Attache--Capt. Thomas L. Breitinger, USN
Public Affairs Officer--Kathleen Brion 
Milgroup Commander--Col. Mark Mayer

The U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Santiago are located at 2800 Andres 
Bello Avenue, Las Condes, (tel. 562-232-2600; fax: 562-330-3710). The 
mailing address is Casilla 27-D, Santiago, Chile. Internet: 


Chile's economy, spurred by free market-oriented policies, has averaged 
a real growth rate of almost 8% per year over the past decade. A limited 
government role in the economy, openness to international trade and 
investment, high domestic savings and investment rates, and budget 
surpluses have made this performance possible. The economy's rapid 
growth has led to steady increases in wages and living standards. 

In 1997, the economy grew by 7.1% in real terms as the inflation rate 
fell to 6.0%. With investment continuing at a record pace, the economy 
is expected to continue growing quite vigorously over the next several 
years. The late-1997/98 financial crisis in Asia is expected to 
negatively affect Chilean exports and reduce Chile's substantial trade 
surplus with the region; the Asian crisis is expected to reduce Chilean 
GDP expansion by roughly one percentage point, resulting in a growth 
rate of between 5.5% and 6.0% in 1998.

Chile has achieved central government budget surpluses every year since 
1988. In 1997, the surplus equaled 1.9 % of GDP. The 1973-90 military 
government sold many state-owned companies, and the two democratic 
governments since 1990 have continued privatization at a more sporadic 
pace. Import tariffs are a flat 11% on nearly all products and the GOC 
plans to reduce the rate to 8% in 1998. Policy measures such as the 
privatization of the national pension system encourage domestic 
investment, contributing to an estimated total domestic savings rate of 
approximately 23% of GDP in 1997. The foreign investment law offers 
investors basically the same treatment as domestic firms, along with 
some extra guarantees.

Wages have risen faster than inflation each year since 1990; nearly all 
of this growth reflects greater productivity. The higher wages have 
increased living standards and have brought more people into the labor 
force. The share of Chileans with incomes below the poverty line 
(roughly $4,000/year for a family of four) fell from 46% of the 
population in 1987 to 23% in 1997. 

Unemployment has varied with the business cycle in recent years, with 
annual rates of between 4.5% and 6.0%. 

Inflation has declined every year since 1990, when the indicator stood 
at 27%. In 1996, December-to-December inflation stood at 8.2%, and it 
fell to 6.0 % in 1997. Because most wage settlements and spending 
decisions are indexed, either formally or informally, it has been 
difficult to reduce inflation rapidly while maintaining high growth 
rates. Still, the independent Central Bank has been willing to raise 
interest rates when necessary to bring down inflation.

The establishment of a compulsory private sector pension system in 1981 
was an important step toward increasing domestic savings and the pool of 
investment capital. Under this system, all workers must pay 10% of their 
salaries into privately managed funds. This large capital pool has been 
supplemented by substantial foreign investment. 

Total public and private investment in the Chilean economy is very high; 
in 1997, investment accounted for 33% of GDP, a historical record. The 
government recognizes the necessity of steadily increasing private 
investment to boost worker productivity. The government is also 
encouraging diversification to non-traditional exports such as fruit, 
wine, and fish to gradually reduce the relative importance of basic 
traditional exports such as copper, timber, and other natural resources. 

Chile's welcoming attitude toward foreign direct investment is codified 
in the country's Foreign Investment Law, which gives foreign investors 
the same treatment as Chileans. Registration is simple and transparent, 
and foreign investors are guaranteed access to the official foreign 
exchange market to repatriate their profits and capital. However, such 
capital must be kept in Chile for one year before being repatriated. 

Foreign direct investment in Chile continued at a record pace in 1997, 
adding $5.0 billion to the total stock. Total foreign investment flows 
in 1998 (including portfolio and other indirect forms of investment) 
were $8.1 billion, or better than 10% of GDP. 

Foreign Trade 

Chile's economy is highly dependent on international trade. In 1996, 
exports reached $15.4 billion and imports $17.4 billion. Exports 
accounted for almost 22% of GDP. Chile has traditionally been dependent 
upon copper exports. The state-owned firm CODELCO is the world's largest 
copper producing company. Foreign private investment has developed many 
new mines, and the private sector produces more copper than CODELCO. 
Copper output is expected to increase significantly in the next few 
years as more private sector projects come on stream. 

Non-traditional exports have grown faster than those of copper and other 
minerals. In 1975, non-mineral exports made up just over 30% of total 
exports; by 1996, they accounted for 52% of export earnings. The most 
important non-mineral exports are forestry and wood products, fresh 
fruit and processed food, fishmeal and seafood, and other manufactured 

Chile's export markets are geographically diverse. Asia and the European 
Union are the largest regional markets. The U.S., the largest single 
market, takes in about 17% of Chile's exports. Latin America has been 
the fastest-growing export market in recent years. The government 
actively seeks to promote Chile's exports globally. Since 1991, Chile 
has signed free trade agreements with Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, 
Colombia, and Ecuador. An association agreement with MERCOSUR 
(Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) went into effect in October 
1996. Chile has joined the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 
organization in an effort to boost commercial ties to Asian markets. 
Also, Chile and the European Union plan to negotiate a trade agreement 
in the medium term. Chile shares the U.S. interest in negotiating a 
comprehensive trade agreement between the two countries. This is due in 
large part because the United States is the country's most important 
single trading partner and source of foreign investment; both countries 
also recognize that the example it would set for broader hemispheric 
trade integration would be in each other's interest. Chile's 1996 free 
trade agreement with Canada was modeled largely on NAFTA in anticipation 
of an eventual trade pact with the United States; similarly, Chile 
broadened its bilateral free trade agreement with Mexico in March 1998. 

Imports have grown along with the economy in the past few years. The 
country's high investment rate is reflected in the fact that capital 
goods make up almost 30% of total imports. The United States is Chile's 
largest single supplier, supplying 24% of the country's imports in 1996. 
Import tariffs are a flat 11% on nearly all products although higher 
effective tariffs can be charged on imports of wheat, wheat flour, 
vegetable oils, and sugar as a result of a system of import price bands. 


Chile's financial sector has grown faster than other areas economy over 
the last few years; a banking law reform approved in 1997 broadened the 
scope of permissible foreign activity for Chilean banks. Domestically, 
Chileans have enjoyed the recent introduction of new financial tools 
such as home equity loans, currency futures and options, factoring, 
leasing, and debit cards. The introduction of these new products has 
been accompanied by increased use of traditional instruments such as 
loans and credit cards. Chile's private pension system, with assets 
worth over $30 billion at the end of 1997, has provided an important 
source of investment capital for the stock market. The number of firms 
with shares traded on the stock market continues to grow. 

Chile's credit rating is one of the best in Latin America. In recent 
years, many Chilean companies have sought to raise capital abroad due to 
the relatively lower interest rates outside of Chile. There are three 
main ways Chilean firms raise funds abroad: bank loans, issuance of 
bonds, and the selling of stock on U.S. markets through American 
Depository Receipts (ADRs). Nearly all of the funds raised go to finance 

The government is rapidly paying down its foreign debt. The combined 
public and private foreign debt was roughly 35% of GDP at the end of 
1997, low by Latin American standards. 


Following a coup in 1973, Chile was ruled by a military regime headed by 
General Augusto Pinochet until 1990. The first years of the regime were 
marked by serious human rights violations. In its later years, however, 
the regime gradually permitted greater freedom of assembly, speech, and 
association, to include trade-union activity. 

In contrast to its authoritarian political rule, the military government 
pursued decidedly laissez faire economic policies. During its 16 years 
in power, Chile moved away from economic statism toward a largely free-
market economy and that fostered an increase in domestic and foreign 
private investment. 

General Pinochet was denied a second eight-year term as President in a 
national plebiscite in 1988. In December 1989, Christian Democrat 
Patricio Aylwin, running as the candidate of a multi-party center-left 
coalition, was elected president. In the 1993 election, Eduardo Frei 
Ruiz-Tagle of the Christian Democratic Party was elected president for a 
six-year term and took office in March 1994.

Chile's constitution was approved in a September 1980 national 
plebiscite. It entered into force in March 1981. After Pinochet's defeat 
in the 1988 plebiscite, the constitution was amended to: ease provisions 
for future amendments to the constitution; create nine appointed or 
"institutional" senators; and diminish the role of the National Security 
Council by equalizing the number of civilian and military members (four 
members each). 

Chile's bicameral Congress has a 48-seat Senate (38 elected, 9 
appointed, one for-life) and a 120-member Chamber of Deputies. Deputies 
are elected every four years. Senators serve for eight years with 
staggered terms. The current Senate contains 20 members from the center-
left governing coalition, 18 from the rightist opposition. In March 
1998, nine newly appointed institutional senators--replacing those 
appointed under the former military government in 1989--took seats, as 
did ex-President Pinochet, who became a "senator for life" (Chile's 
constitution provides that ex-Presidents who have served at least six 
years shall be entitled to a lifetime senate seat.) Both the Aylwin and 
Frei Administrations have proposed unsuccessfully the abolition of the 
nine appointed Senate seats. The last congressional elections were held 
in December 1997. The current lower house (the Chamber of Deputies) 
contains 70 members of the governing coalition and 50 from the rightist 
opposition. The Congress is located in the port city of Valparaiso, 
about 140 kilometers (84 mi.) west of the capital, Santiago. 

Chile's congressional elections are governed by a unique binomial system 
that rewards coalition slates. Each coalition can run two candidates for 
the two Senate and two lower chamber seats apportioned to each chamber's 
electoral districts. Typically, the two largest coalitions split the 
seats in a district. Only if the leading coalition ticket outpolls the 
second-place coalition by a margin of more than 2-to-1 does the winning 
coalition gain both seats.

The political parties with the largest representation in the current 
Chilean Congress are the centrist Christian Democrat Party and the 
center-right National Renewal Party. The Communist Party and the small 
Humanist Party failed to gain any seats in the 1997 elections. 

Chile's judiciary is independent and includes a court of appeal, a 
system of military courts, a constitutional tribunal, and the Supreme 

National Security 

Chile's armed forces are subject to civilian control exercised by the 
president through the Minister of Defense. Under the 1980 constitution, 
the services enjoy considerable autonomy, and the president cannot 
remove service commanders on his own authority.

Army 55, troops: The Commander in Chief is Lt. General Ricardo Izurieta. 
The army is organized into six divisions, one separate brigade, and an 
air wing. 

Navy: Admiral Jorge Arancibia directs the 29,000-person navy, including 
5,200 marines. The fleet of 11 surface vessels and four submarines is 
based in Valparaiso. The navy operates its own aircraft.

Air Force: General Fernando Rojas Vender heads a force of 12,000. Air 
assets are distributed among four air brigades headquartered in Iquique, 
Santiago, Puerto Montt, and Punta Arenas. The Air Force also operates an 
airbase on King George Island, Antarctica.

The Chilean police are comprised of a national, uniformed police force 
(carabineros) and a smaller, plainclothes investigations police force. 
After the military coup in September 1973, the Chilean national police 
were incorporated into the Defense Ministry. With the return of 
democratic government, the police were placed under the operational 
control of the Interior Ministry, but remain under the nominal control 
of the Defense Ministry. General Manuel Ugarte, who directs the national 
police force of 27,000, is responsible for law enforcement, traffic 
management, narcotics suppression, border control, and counter-terrorism 
throughout Chile. 


About 85% of Chile's population live in urban centers with 40% living in 
greater Santiago. Most have Spanish ancestry. A small, yet influential, 
number of Irish and English immigrants came to Chile during the colonial 
period. German immigration began in 1848 and lasted for 90 years; the 
southern provinces of Valdivia, Llanquihue, and Osorno show a strong 
German influence. Other significant immigrant groups are Italian, 
Croatian, French, and Middle Eastern. About 400,000 Native Americans, 
mostly of the Mapuche tribe, reside in the south-central area. 

The northern Chilean desert contains great mineral wealth, primarily 
copper and nitrates. The relatively small central area dominates the 
country in terms of population and agricultural resources. This area is 
also the historical center from which Chile expanded until the late 19th 
century, when it incorporated its northern and southern regions. 
Southern Chile is rich in forests and grazing lands and features a 
string of volcanoes and lakes. The southern coast is a labyrinth of 
fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands. It also has 
small, rapidly declining petroleum reserves, which supplied about 8% of 
Chile's domestic requirements during 1996. 


About 10,000 years ago, migrating Indians settled in fertile valleys and 
along the coast of what is now Chile. The Incas briefly extended their 
empire into what is now northern Chile, but the area's remoteness 
prevented extensive settlement. 

In 1541, the Spanish, under Pedro de Valdivia, encountered hundreds of 
thousands of Indians from various cultures in the area that modern Chile 
now occupies. These cultures supported themselves principally through 
slash-and-burn agriculture and hunting. Although the Spanish did not 
find the extensive gold and silver they sought, they recognized the 
agricultural potential of Chile's central valley, and Chile became part 
of the Viceroyalty of Peru. 

The drive for independence from Spain was precipitated by usurpation of 
the Spanish throne by Napoleon's brother Joseph. A national junta in the 
name of Ferdinand--heir to the deposed king--was formed on September 18, 
1810. Spanish attempts to reimpose arbitrary rule during what was called 
the Reconquista led to a prolonged struggle under Bernardo O'Higgins, 
Chile's most renowned patriot. Chilean independence was formally 
proclaimed on February 12, 1818.

The political revolt brought little social change, however, and 19th 
century Chilean society preserved the essence of the stratified colonial 
social structure, family politics, and the influence of the Roman 
Catholic Church. The system of presidential power eventually 
predominated, but wealthy landowners continued to control Chile. 

Toward the end of the 19th century, government in Santiago consolidated 
its position in the south by persistently suppressing the Mapuche 
Indians. In 1881, it signed a treaty with Argentina confirming Chilean 
sovereignty over the Strait of Magellan. As a result of the War of the 
Pacific with Peru and Bolivia (1879-83), Chile expanded its territory 
northward by almost one-third and acquired valuable nitrate deposits, 
the exploitation of which led to an era of national affluence. 

Chile established a parliamentary-style democracy in the late 19th 
century, which tended to protect the interests of the ruling oligarchy. 
By the 1920s, the emerging middle and working classes were powerful 
enough to elect a reformist president, whose program was frustrated by a 
conservative congress. Continuing political and economic instability 
resulted in the quasi-dictatorial rule of General Carlos Ibanez (1924-

When constitutional rule was restored in 1932, a strong middle-class 
party, the Radicals, emerged. It became the key force in coalition 
governments for the next 20 years. In the 1920s, Marxist groups with 
strong popular support developed. During the period of Radical Party 
dominance (1932-52), the state increased its role in the economy. 

The 1964 presidential election of Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei-
Montalva (father of the current president) by an absolute majority 
initiated a period of major reform. Under the slogan "Revolution in 
Liberty," the Frei Administration embarked on far-reaching social and 
economic programs, particularly in education, housing, and agrarian 
reform, including rural unionization of agricultural workers. By 1967, 
however, Frei encountered increasing opposition from leftists, who 
charged that his reforms were inadequate, and from conservatives, who 
found them excessive. 

In 1970, Dr. Salvador Allende, a Marxist and member of Chile's Socialist 
Party, who headed the "Popular Unity" (UP) coalition of Socialists, 
Communists, Radicals, and dissident Christian Democrats, was elected by 
a narrow margin. His program included the nationalization of most 
remaining private industries and banks, massive land expropriation, and 
collectivization. Allende's proposal also included the nationalization 
of U.S. interests in Chile's major copper mines. 

Elected with only 36% of the vote and by a plurality of only 36,000 
votes, Allende never enjoyed majority support in the Chilean Congress or 
broad popular support. Domestic production declined, severe shortages of 
consumer goods, food, and manufactured products were widespread and 
inflation reached 1,000% per annum. Mass demonstrations, recurring 
strikes, violence by both government supporters and opponents, and 
widespread rural unrest ensued in response to the general deterioration 
of the economy. By 1973, Chilean society had split into two hostile 
camps. A military coup overthrew Allende on September 11, 1973. As the 
armed forces bombarded the presidential palace, Allende committed 


With its return to democracy in 1990, Chile became an active participant 
in the international political arena. It is an active member of the Rio 
Group, and it rejoined the Non-Aligned Movement. Chile was a driving 
force in the world summit for social development held in Copenhagen in 
March 1995. Chile is an active member of the United Nations and the UN 
family of agencies, serving on the UN Security Council 1995-97. Chile 
participates in UN peacekeeping activities, including UNSCOM in Iraq. 
The Chilean Government has diplomatic relations with most countries, 
including Cuba. Chile maintains only consular relations with Bolivia; 
Chile's acquisition of territory during the War of the Pacific (1879-83) 
continues to influence adversely its relations with Peru and Bolivia. 
Chile's association with the MERCOSUR countries in 1996 and its 
continuing interest in hemispheric free trade, as well as its membership 
in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) grouping auger well for 
even closer international economic ties in the future. Politically, 
Chile has been one of the most active countries in supporting 
implementation of the 1994 Summit of the Americas, hosting the second 
Summit of the Americas in Santiago, April 1998.

Principal Government Officials 

President--Eduardo FREI Ruiz-Tagle
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Jose Miguel INSULZA
Ambassador to the United States--John BIEHL Del Rio
Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS)--Carlos PORTALES
Ambassador to the United Nations--Juan SOMAVIA Altamirano 

Chile maintains an embassy in the United States at 1732 Massachusetts 
Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036 (tel. 202-785-1746). 


American Chamber of Commerce in Chile
Vespucio Sur 80, Piso 9
82 Correo 34
Tel:/Fax: 562-290-9700 
Fax: 562-206-0911/2247
Home page: http://www.amchamchile.cl 

U.S. Department of Commerce
Trade Information Center 
International Trade Administration
14th and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20230
Tel: 800-USA-TRADE, Fax: 202-482-4726
Home page: http://www.ita.doc.gov


The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program provides 
Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets. Travel Warnings are 
issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel 
to a certain country. Consular Information Sheets exist for all 
countries and include information on immigration practices, currency 
regulations, health conditions, areas of instability, crime and 
security, political disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S. posts in 
the country.

Public Announcements are issued as a means to disseminate information 
quickly about terrorist threats and other relatively short-term 
conditions overseas which pose significant risks to the security of 
American travelers. Free copies of this information are available by 
calling the Bureau of Consular Affairs at 202-647-5225 or via the fax-
on-demand system: 202-647-3000. Travel Warnings and Consular Information 
Sheets also are available on the Consular Affairs Internet home page:  
and the Consular Affairs Bulletin Board (CABB). To access CABB, dial the 
modem number: (301-946-4400 (it will accommodate up to 33,600 bps), set 
terminal communications program to N-8-1 (no parity, 8 bits, 1 stop 
bit); and terminal emulation to VT100. The login is travel and the 
password is info (Note: Lower case is required). The CABB also carries 
international security information from the Overseas Security Advisory 
Council and Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Consular Affairs 
Trips for Travelers publication series, which contain information on 
obtaining passports and planning a safe trip abroad, can be purchased 
from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, 
P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954; telephone: 202-512-1800; fax 

Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be 
obtained from the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-
5225. For after-hours emergencies, Sundays and holidays, call 202-647-

Passport Services information can be obtained by calling the 24-hour, 7-
day a week automated system ($.35 per minute) or live operators 8 a.m. 
to 8 p.m. (EST) Monday-Friday ($1.05 per minute). The number is 1-900-
225-5674 (TDD: 1-900-225-7778). Major credit card users (for a flat rate 
of $4.95) may call 1-888-362-8668 (TDD: 1-888-498-3648).

Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers 
for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at 
(404) 332-4559 gives the most recent health advisories, immunization 
recommendations or requirements, and advice on food and drinking water 
safety for regions and countries. A booklet entitled Health Information 
for International Travel (HHS publication number CDC-95-8280) is 
available from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 
20402, tel. (202) 512-1800.

Information on travel conditions, visa requirements, currency and 
customs regulations, legal holidays, and other items of interest to 
travelers also may be obtained before your departure from a country's 
embassy and/or consulates in the U.S. (for this country, see "Principal 
Government Officials" listing in this publication). 

U.S. citizens who are long-term visitors or traveling in dangerous areas 
are encouraged to register at the U.S. embassy upon arrival in a country 
(see "Principal U.S. Embassy Officials" listing in this publication). 
Registering with the embassy may help you to replace lost identity 
documents or help family members contact you in case of an emergency.

Further Electronic Information: 

Department of State Foreign Affairs Network. Available on the Internet, 
DOSFAN provides timely, global access to official U.S. foreign policy 
information. Updated daily, DOSFAN includes Background Notes; Dispatch, 
the official magazine of U.S. foreign policy; daily press briefings; 
Country Commercial Guides; directories of key officers of foreign 
service posts; etc. DOSFAN's World Wide Web site is at 

U.S. Foreign Affairs on CD-ROM (USFAC). Published on an annual basis by 
the U.S. Department of State, USFAC archives information on the 
Department of State Foreign Affairs Network, and includes an array of 
official foreign policy information from 1990 to the present. Contact 
the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. 
Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. To order, call (202) 512-1800 or 
fax (202) 512-2250. 

National Trade Data Bank (NTDB). Operated by the U.S. Department of 
Commerce, the NTDB contains a wealth of trade-related information, 
including Country Commercial Guides. It is available on the Internet 
(www.stat-usa.gov) and on CD-ROM. Call the NTDB Help-Line at (202) 482-
1986 for more information.


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