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

No. 811

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my telegram No. 39 of September 7, 8 p.m., and the Department’s telegram No. 28, September 9, 7 p.m., regarding the ratification of the Peruvian-Colombian Boundary Treaty.

I have the honor to report that after receiving the Department’s No. 28, above referred to, I called upon the Minister for Foreign Affairs and after discussing several other matters with him, inquired regarding the progress being made toward ratification of the boundary treaty with Colombia, stating that I had heard that the delay in ratification was causing some uneasiness in Colombia and that of course the Government of the United States took a friendly interest in furthering the continuance of amicable relations between these two important countries of South America.

Señor Rada y Gamio immediately entered into a long explanation of the causes for the delay in the ratification of the treaty. He first alleged that the delay was not as great as the Colombians seemed to think, inasmuch as the period during which ratification could have been effected began only on March 4, 1925, when the final agreement relative to the treaty was signed in Washington. He then said that it had not been deemed advisable to present the treaty for ratification last year as it had been felt at that time that such action would have resulted in the Congress either rejecting the treaty or demanding its modifications. Either contingency, he pointed out, would have been most unwelcome to the Government and it was thought that the only course to be pursued was to withhold presentation of the treaty until the way to its certain ratification had been paved by the Government.

Señor Rada y Gamio assured me that every obstacle to the presentation of the treaty to the Parliament and its ratification had now been removed. He said that it had been necessary to go rather slowly with the Senators and Deputies because of their well known susceptibilities, that if they felt the Government was trying to hustle the members of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Parliament into a hasty recommendation of the treaty, or was trying to hustle the Parliament itself into a hasty ratification, they might easily become antagonistic. He added that acrimonious comment in the newspapers and the Parliament of Colombia and the obvious impatience of the Colombian Government did not help matters when it came to ratification here, that the main basis for asking for ratification of this treaty lay in advancing the theory of Peruvian-Colombian friendship and that every act of Colombia, or even of individual Colombians, [Page 337] which could be used to show that Colombian friendship was not sincere, made it more difficult to obtain favorable action from the Peruvian Parliament.

After our conversation at the Foreign Office, the Minister of Foreign Relations asked me to accompany him to his house in order that he might show me the extensive work which he had done himself in connection with the Treaty. As we were leaving the Foreign Office building, he called one of his two confidential assistants from his office … This gentleman … said that the documents on which they had been working up to two o’clock in the morning for several days past, were now almost ready and that within a few days they would be in the hands of the Committee.

At his house Señor Rada y Gamio showed me a file of manuscript notes which he had made in connection with his defense of the treaty in the Parliament, as well as a series of very rough maps of the district which he had drawn, and several large and fairly detailed maps which he had had made. It was apparently his object to show me that the preparations for submitting the treaty to the Parliament had necessarily been complicated and lengthy and had required a great deal of work on his part. He said, however, that he expected the treaty would be ratified in the course of the month of October, as the Government expected to see it presented for ratification at the end of this month or the beginning of next month and that he did not think that the actual debates of the Parliament would take more than five or six days.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs asked me to return to see him on Monday, September 12th. When I returned to his office on that day, he told me that he had spoken of the matter of the ratification of the Treaty to the President and that the President had asked him to assure me that the Treaty would be presented to the Parliament at the end of September or the beginning of October, and would be ratified in the course of October. Señor Rada y Gamio added that therefore the United States Government could rest assured that this would be the case since we had the President’s assurances, as well as his own, that the Treaty would “be ratified in the month of October.”

Yesterday I had occasion to see the Colombian Minister and in the course of a conversation with him, told him that the Foreign Minister had informed me that the Treaty would be ratified during October. I pointed out to him that the impatience of public statements and newspaper articles in Colombia might be used by the enemies of the treaty in the Parliament here to seek to justify further delay and to oppose ratification on the grounds that a Parliament could not be pressed into ratification by public utterances and press heckling from another country. Señor Lozano agreed with me in this and said that he would telegraph to his Government, recommending [Page 338] that every effort be made to prevent either the Parliament or the press from giving vent to their impatience until the end of October. He said nothing further about leaving Lima in the near future and I inferred from what he did say that he intended to refrain from pressing the matter very urgently upon the Peruvian Government until the end of next month and that he did not now expect to leave Lima before that time.

It may be noted that since my telegram, No. 39, above referred to, the Committee for Foreign Affairs has met again but that no business was transacted as the senior Deputy present objected that a quorum of the members of the Chamber of Deputies, who form a part of the Committee, was not present. It may be noted that there was a quorum present of the Committee itself because, although three out of five members appointed from the Chamber of Deputies were absent, the full number of Senators was present. I understand that the Committee is to meet within a few days, but that it is prevented from meeting immediately because Deputy MacLean has gone to spend a few days near lea for the sake of his health, and until he returns there is not likely to be a possibility of having a quorum of the Committee, since it is apparent that the Committee holds that a majority of the Deputies and a majority of the Senators, who are members of the Committee, must be present.

While it is my impression that the Peruvian Government is taking more active steps toward ratification at the present time than it has done heretofore, I believe that things are likely to drag on as they have in the past, in spite of the assurances which I have reported above, unless it is made clear to the Peruvian Government that the United States Government understands that they have given a very definite undertaking to have the treaty presented at the latest in the early part of October and ratified in the course of that month. …

I have [etc.]

Pierre de L. Boal