Mr. Adee to Mr. Dudley.
Washington, August 3, 1904.
Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 950 of the 8th ultimo, inclosing a certified copy of a supreme decree providing, upon the basis of reciprocity, for the raising of the Peruvian flag on the Government Palace upon the anniversaries of other nations, and the half-masting of the flag in sign of condolence upon the death of the chiefs of other States, and the attendance in such case of public functionaries at the memorial services held in Peru under whatever rites held.
In reply I have to say that if literal and technical reciprocity is contemplated the fact could not be evidenced in the absence of any statute of the United States of the nature of that adopted by Peru. The tributes shown by this Government on occasion of the death of the chief of a friendly State are within the discretion of the Executive. As a matter of fact the President has often attended the memorial services held in the national capital on the death of a foreign sovereign or president, and, indeed, the President has frequently attended at the funeral services of foreign diplomatic agents who have died in the United States.
There have been instances when the flag on the White House has been half-masted as a sign of condolence; but there is no prescribed rule for such action. It has not been the custom here to make display of the national flag on the White House upon the State anniversaries of other nations, and any rule to that effect would be without significance, inasmuch as the Executive flag is flown every day while the President is in the capital, as it is also displayed daily on all Government buildings.
The sentiment of international friendliness which finds expression in the Peruvian law is appreciated to the full.
I am, etc.,