File No. 862.85/456

The Chargé in Peru ( Smith ) to the Secretary of State


Department’s May 29, 3 p.m. I was called to Foreign Office this afternoon and handed by Minister of Foreign Affairs the reply to Department’s note a translation of which follows:

That the Peruvian Government absolutely ratifies its declarations of solidarity with the policy of the United States in the present war, and that the Peruvian Government will firmly [maintain] this declaration whatever the outcome of the conflict may be.

That its determination to use the German ships now at anchor in the national ports has always been in accordance with the purpose to proceed in absolute accord with the Government of the United States.

That the Peruvian Chargé d’Affaires’ proposition for the organization of an international company made October 27, 1917, with the object of giving a more ample character and equality in participation for the utilization of the German ships was considered impracticable by the Government of the United States as late as the 18th December and after Governments of Uruguay and Brazil had already adopted a different mode of procedure.

That our Legation in Washington was informed January 7 of the present year unofficially that the Government of the United States [Page 700] would only give guarantees of an economic character for the claims that possibly could be filed against the Government of Peru arising from the use of the German ships.

That even at such a recent date as February 15 [14]1 the Department of State informed the Legation of Peru at Washington that the American Government would be disposed to offer to the Government of Peru its official guarantee to lend it all the possible help in case that the German Government after the end of the war should present any international claims against Peru for the use of the vessels of German nationality.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

That it is the belief of the Peruvian Government that taking into consideration the sentiments of mutual friendship and community of principles that unite both countries the Government of the United States cannot fail to understand especially in actions [relating] to the present war the international political situation of Peru, something that the United States cannot fail to understand in view of the legal doctrines amply proclaimed by President Wilson for the triumph of which the American Union is generously giving her blood and her resources.

That the Peruvian Government replying [relying?] on the broad point of view of the United States’ policies accepts with pleasure the offer just made of the guarantee of the American Government against any possible consequences which may come from the use of the German ships, in any manner agreed to by both Governments; and that it will proceed, as soon as said offer is perfected, to take the necessary measures to make possible the use of said [ships] and to close the agreement.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs states that in order to expedite matters he has instructed Peruvian Minister at Washington to suggest that negotiations be carried on here.

  1. See ante, p. 666.