File No. 944/127.

The American Chargé d’Affaires at Lima to the Secretary of State.

No. 335.]

Sir: I have the honor to report that in an interview yesterday with the Peruvian Foreign Minister I communicated to him the sense of your cable just received in answer to his formal request regarding the Santiago Legation transmitted in my cable of March 7th. * * *

This ended our formal interview.

Mr. Porras said that he had decided to expose to me (in confidence and informally) his own desires as regards the Tacna and Arica question. He said he considered an early solution not only advisable but inevitable. His own hope was that an international tribunal of American Powers (preferably the United States, Brazil and the Argentine) would be formed with full powers to judge of the merits of the case. He said that even ignoring Peru’s well-founded rights (in his opinion) the award might be made acceptable by Peru in one of two ways as follows:

Tacna and Arica to be erected into a buffer state;
The provinces to be divided between Peru and Chile, with due consideration of Peru’s rights and of the status quo.

I thanked Mr. Porras for his confidence and informed him that I would with his permission transmit the substance of our conversation (informally) to my Government. * * *

Perhaps the most important question in the present situation is: To what extent is Dr. Porras justified in his apparent reliance on [Page 1179] the great American Powers to intervene in the solution of the Peruvian-Chilean controversy? * * * As regards the United States, I respectfully suggest that some direct indication of the Department’s views regarding the matters set forth above would be of the greatest value in the not wholly improbable eventuality of a crisis in Peruvian-Chilean affairs.

I have considered it wise to report at some length in view of the fact that whatever be the political fate of Mr. Porris, the results of his policies as indicated are likely to have a considerable influence on the foreign relations of Peru for some time to come. * * *

I have [etc.]

Wm. Penn Cresson.