The Ambassador in Peru (Poindexter) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 16—8:30 p.m.]
9. Department’s No. 7, February 3, noon. I shall seek a favorable opportunity to convey your views to President Leguía. It is my impression that his speeches have been much misrepresented. In certain instances I positively know this to be true; and much of the attention directed to his utterances has emanated from Chilean sources.
I know that the Peruvian Government has made preparations of a military nature; at same time reports are constantly being received in Lima of extensive naval and military preparations being made by Chile, and these reports naturally tend to aggravate the situation.
While Peru has been pleased by General Pershing’s conduct and also that of General Lassiter, insofar as there has been opportunity to judge it, and while Peruvian Government recognizes that under arbitral [Page 297] award the ordinary government is to remain under Chile’s control, it is recognized also that by the award and subsequent decisions of Arbitrator on matters which have arisen under the award, the ordinary government of the provinces does not extend to the plebiscite either in regard to actual taking of the vote or the preparation for it. The expectation was that the orders of Plebiscitary Commission on questions arising in the several phases of the plebiscitary process would be regarded as entirely distinct from jurisdiction of Chilean authorities over the ordinary government, and that Commission would decide these questions and administer the decisions under the power and authority of the Arbitrator. Submission of plebiscitary questions to decision and control of the Chilean tribunals and authorities has created feeling of humiliation in Peru which at times tends to express itself. I believe that view held here is that under the award there are two contemporaneous authorities in the provinces entirely independent the one of the other, namely, the Plebiscitary Commission with authority over plebiscitary affairs and the Chileans with authority over ordinary governmental affairs; and considerable resentment is felt when attacks by Chileans upon Peruvians who are engaged in plebiscitary work are submitted for redress to Chilean tribunals, and when actual establishment of the so-called guarantees ordered by the Commission is confided to Chilean officials. The animosity which Peruvians in the provinces have encountered accentuates this feeling and as result there is feeling of uncertainty in regard to possibility of carrying out award under these conditions.