Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Latin American Affairs (Stabler)
The Peruvian Ambassador accompanied by Mr. Wade Ellis and the Secretary of the Embassy, Mr. Prada, called on the Secretary of State by appointment today. The Assistant Secretary of State Olds and Mr. Stabler were also present. The Ambassador stated that he had come to see the Secretary, pursuant to instructions from his Government, to present to him a memorandum39 which was a statement of the position of Peru with respect to the suggestions, which had been conveyed by the Secretary of State, regarding a possible proposal for a settlement of the Tacna-Arica question, to Mr. Ellis, [Page 503] the Peruvian Counsel, and to the Ambassador himself. The Ambassador further stated that he had been instructed to say to the Secretary of State that the Peruvian Government made the following suggestion for a settlement of the controversy:
The territory north of a line running from the Cerro de Parinacota to the head of the Azapa Valley and extending along the southern border of the Azapa Valley to a point on the seacoast south of the city of Arica to go to Peru; a corridor to be given to Bolivia south of this line and which might be connected by a spur to the Arica-La Paz Railroad. All the territory south of this territory to be given to Chile.
The Ambassador explained that Peru desired to give Bolivia a corridor but that the city of Arica, the port and the Morro must remain in Peruvian hands.
The Secretary of State then read aloud the English translation of the memorandum presented by the Ambassador and called attention to the first paragraph in which reference is made to the Legal Advisers to the American delegation to the Plebiscitary Commission and stated that he did not know of any such opinion expressed by them and if such opinion was expressed it was not that of the Arbitrator or of the United States he was sure. The Secretary then stated that he understood the memorandum to be a definite setting forth of the fact that Peru would make no practical suggestion for the settlement of the matter and insisted upon having possession of both the towns of Tacna and Arica. He said that if this were the case it would seem useless to carry on further conversations with the Peruvian Ambassador; that he felt that it would be necessary for him to make a proposal of his own which could be taken or rejected by the two Governments as they saw fit; that it appeared impossible to reach any solution of the matter if the Peruvian Government was not willing to look at the matter from common sense and a practical standpoint. The Secretary further said that it was the first intimation which had been made that Peru insisted on Arica being turned over to Peru alone. The Ambassador then tried to point out that he meant to convey this same idea in his conversation with Mr. Stabler on September 4.40 After this discussion as to the general tenor of the memorandum presented by the Ambassador in which Mr. Ellis interjected several remarks, apparently in the desire to better his client’s position before the Secretary, the Secretary stated that the preliminary verbal statement of the Ambassador suggesting a line to the south of the Azapa Valley as a southern boundary of the Peruvian part of the province was entirely out of the question and was nothing [Page 504] but a slight modification of Peru’s original proposal for a line and a port to Bolivia at Vitor and that it could not be considered at all. The Ambassador stated that as the Secretary had indicated that suggestions from Peru would be in order he had now complied with his instructions and had presented the suggestions which his Government desired to make. The Secretary reiterated his statement that he now felt that it would be necessary for him to make a definite proposal and that he was considering doing this.