823.00 Revolutions/19: Telegram

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

158. My telegram No. 153, August 26, 1 p.m., paragraphs 4, 5 and 6. Seems axiomatic that it would be highly desirable for Peruvian–American relations if there could be constitutional continuity in a government here which would eliminate questions of recognition and permit us to continue as previously in our dealings with Peru.

As far as I can learn from witnesses at the time of the President’s resignation, the group who later called themselves the military junta were really the duly sworn-in Cabinet described in the paragraphs noted above. Why they did not continue as such duly constituted government under paragraph 116 of the Constitution of Peru I do not [Page 729] know. Quite likely it was because they were so disorganized and dazed that they did not know what they were doing or it may have been because the group did not wish to be considered as in any way successors of the Leguia regime.

From the best information available in the very chaotic condition existing today the junta is resigning in favor of Sanchez Cerro who has just arrived here this afternoon by plane from Arequipa. It is not known what the latter’s attitude will be; but it would seem so much more beneficial for Peru to continue as a recognized government than to attempt to carry on under de facto authorities for an indefinite period, that Sanchez Cerro and his group may see the practicalities of the situation if they are pointed out to him. They could claim to be succession to Leguia government in the same manner as “governing cabinets” in China.

There can scarcely be any money in the treasury and a great need exists for some financial arrangement almost immediately or otherwise the troops cannot be kept in hand and business get back to a certain normality.

If the Department agrees I should like to take this line of constitutional continuity with Sanchez Cerro in my first conversations with him which may be when introducing Mr. Kingsmill who wants to discuss Cerro de Pasco affairs with him at earliest moment practicable. I should like to suggest that the United States desires to do everything possible to maintain normal relations with Peru.

Immediate telegraphic instructions respectfully requested.