File No. 862.85/396
The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Peru ( Smith )
You are instructed to present the following note textually to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Peru, impressing upon him the great importance of this matter and requesting that he bring it to the personal attention of the President of Peru at the earliest opportunity, stating that the Government of the United States feels that further delay in working out a satisfactory arrangement for the employment of these ships will be very detrimental to the best interests of the Government of Peru and the Government of the United States in connection with the cause which has been championed by Peru and for which the United States of America is battling:
During the past seven months the Government of the United States and the Government of Peru have been carrying on discussions looking toward an arrangement for the efficacious employment of the German ships now in Peruvian ports, which ships, it is understood, the Peruvian Government contemplates putting into commission. [Page 697] These discussions had reached a point which appeared to be satisfactory to both parties when suddenly the Government of Peru apparently changed its views and to all intents and purposes seemed to hesitate about placing the above-mentioned ships in service.
In view of the public feeling in the United States, that for the successful prosecution of the war, all ships should be made use of which are controlled by those countries having at heart the desire for the triumph of the cause of the Allies, the Government of the United States feels that it is incumbent upon it to say to the Government of Peru that the above-mentioned hesitation on the part of that Government has produced an unfortunate impression upon the American people.
In order to set clear its own position in this matter before the-people of the United States and to prove to them that the American Government has been doing everything in its power to secure the operation for the benefit of the common cause of the German ships in Peruvian ports, it is desired to inform the Government of Peru that it may become necessary to make a public declaration in regard to the above-mentioned discussions with the Peruvian Government. The Government of the United States trusts that the Government of Peru will have no objection to the publication of such a statement should it become necessary.
In view of the assurance of friendship and cooperation which the Government of Peru has given to the Government of the United States, especially at the time when the former broke diplomatic-relations with the Imperial German Government, the Government of the United States trusts that there will be no need for the publication of such a statement, as it is confident that the Government of Peru will immediately take whatever steps are necessary for the putting into commission of the above-mentioned ships under some arrangement which will be satisfactory to both Governments.
Such cooperation on the part of the Government of Peru at this time, when all available tonnage is most necessary for the good of the cause which has been espoused by both nations, will be received with much gratification by the Government of the United States and in this connection it is desired to state further that the Government of the United States will be glad to guarantee the Government of Peru against any consequences which may result from any action in regard to making use of these German ships in a manner decided upon by the two Governments.