721.2315/357: Telegram

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


55. (1) I have just been asked by the Colombian Minister if I would inquire of the Government of Peru as to the progress of the Colombian-Peruvian boundary treaty, and intimate to it the hope that the treaty would be approved before the Colombian Congress closes on November 17. He thinks that the question is entering upon a decisive phase because the president of the Peruvian Senate, in the name of President Leguía, his brother, promised him that the Committee on Foreign Affairs would report the treaty to Congress day after tomorrow, and that it would be approved by the end of this month.

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(2) The treaty appears to be on the eve of being presented to Congress where there is much opposition to it and much agitation regarding it. With the general public the treaty is without doubt unpopular. I have been reliably informed that the president of the House of Deputies in his attempt to convince vacillating members has told them that the Government of the United States has been bringing pressure to bear upon Peru to ratify the treaty. It is my observation that even the officials of the Foreign Office who have assisted the Foreign Minister in preparing the defense of the treaty in Congress bitterly oppose it.

(3) Should I make any inquiry now, even if very informally, either of the Foreign Minister or the President, such action might be reported to those opposing the treaty, who as a last resort to arouse public opinion might use my inquiry as evidence that the Government of the United States is endeavoring to force the hand of the Government of Peru. This would react both against the treaty and the United States. The Colombian Minister has told me that Senator Arana telegraphed to Loreto, for publication there, that mass meetings are being held in Lima against the treaty. There have been no such meetings, but the action signifies his intention to incite an uprising there, and the length he is prepared to go. Rather than participate in submitting the treaty to Congress, Senator de la Piedra has taken leave for 20 days; and one of the warmest supporters of the President, Focion Mariategui, is actively opposing the treaty.

(4) I intimated to the Colombian Minister that while of course I would be pleased to help him, nevertheless, it seemed to me that the present might not be a propitious time to take the step he suggested.

(5) If the treaty is not presented to Congress early next week, a situation might develop where an inquiry might be a decided incentive to present it. I would appreciate it, therefore, if the Department would inform me whether it desires me to make a discreet inquiry despite the possibility set forth in paragraph (3), if there continues to be a delay in presenting the treaty and the President seems inclined to postpone the matter until after the conference at Habana, as some of the Deputies have suggested.