823.00 Revolutions/18: Telegram

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

157. My 155, August 26, 11 p.m., paragraph 7. At the diplomatic body meeting this morning, faced as we were with no certainty as to any government existing here, or any definite news of Colonel Cerro’s arrival from Arequipa (who is reported as being quite capable of maintaining order), my colleagues were all very much concerned with the state of affairs. It seems quite on the cards that things might get out of hand at any time in dangerous fashion especially since railway labor unions are growing ugly and there seems to be little if any money with which to pay them.

Also, according to very reliable advice there are two military camps in Lima separate from those adhering to Colonel Cerro. Therefore no military protection on which to rely.

In these circumstances, and after earnest recommendation to me by several of my colleagues including the Mexican Legation that steps should be taken for American warships to come to Callao, I discussed the matter with my British and Chilean colleagues. The British Chargé d’Affaires said that he would act in unison with me. The Chilean Ambassador appreciated my discussing this point with him and said that he would telegraph his Government his opinion as to the chaotic and most unsatisfactory state of affairs here with a view to their considering wisdom of sending a Chilean vessel here if American and British war vessels were ordered to Callao. It is perhaps unnecessary for me to explain to the Department that my informal discussion of this with the Chilean Ambassador, who understood I had no instructions, was as much as anything else to prevent undue prominence to the United States should they send war vessels here. The concurrence [Page 728] of Chile in any such action would also make for Pan American unity.

I informed Argentine and Brazilian Chargés d’Affaires, with whom I have been in very close touch during all the time, of my conversations with my British and Chilean colleagues explaining that what I did was from a point of view of Pan American solidarity,—desiring that there might be no misapprehension of our intentions should necessity arise for United States warships to come for the protection of American lives and interests here. They seemed to be deeply appreciative of my having discussed the matter with them and entirely approved of the idea of Chilean, British and American war vessels coming here. All of the above was predicated on our not being able to learn definitely whether Colonel Cerro was arriving. Since I have just learned that he is coming this afternoon I have postponed further recommendations respecting the necessity for the immediate despatch of war vessels until we can see how Cerro takes hold. The Chilean and British representatives have adopted similar attitude.

Mr. Harold Kingsmill, local representative of Cerro de Pasco Corporation and for many years resident here, called upon me this morning and suggested the desirability of war vessels being sent here. He feels situation very unstable and that better wait and see what Sanchez Cerro will do in next day or two. Kingsmill somewhat apprehensive of conditions at mines as laborers using typical radical manifesto.