File No. 823.5048/8.2.
The American Consul at Iquitos to the Secretary of State.
Iquitos, Peru, August 6, 1912.
Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of a letter just received, from the acting prefect of Loreto in reply to the letter I addressed to him on the 10th of July, together with a translation, a copy of my reply, and a translation of it.
As I asked for no information that would not form a necessary part of that at the command of the prefecture if they are at ail responsible for the government of the region in question, it is hard to see why they should state that it is beyond their sphere of action and go to authorities as far removed from the Putumayo (in point of fact) as Europe is to apply for information. If anything has been done, it seems most extraordinary that the departmental authorities should not know of it. It is hard to conceive of any reason for their wishing to conceal any reforms already accomplished.[Page 1264]
If it is really considerations of time and distance that prompt the Lima Government in the course they outline, it is hard to see why they should wait until especially asked for the information by the Minister. They know that it would be at least October before any advices could reach him from me, and there is nothing to prevent their saying to the Minister, “Your consul at Iquitos has asked for certain information on behalf of inquirers from the United States, but on account of time and distance from Iquitos we prefer to give the information to you for transmission to your Government.”
In fine, the letter is really an admission that the responsible government of the Department of Loreto can not point out anything that has been done to better conditions, and a warning that any attempt to get at facts on the ground will not meet with their assistance or cooperation, as well as an effort to hold off any inquiry until the matter blows over, or until they have at least had time to start something in the Putumayo. It is a good example of the shifting equivocation that meets one throughout in the attitude of the local authorities.
I have [etc.]