The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Peru (Dearing)
Sir: The Department acknowledges the receipt of your despatch No. 555, of March 25, 1931,17 confirming your telegram No. 143 of March 23, 11 p.m., and giving further details regarding the revolt on the night of March 23 last of the non-commissioned personnel and men of the Fifth Regiment stationed at Catalina Barracks, Lima.
The Department appreciates the Embassy’s industry in procuring information regarding recent political developments in Peru, particularly in connection with the series of revolutions which has taken place in that country. In Enclosure 2 to your despatch under reference, however, the Department notes that Major Allen and the Third Secretary of the Embassy were instructed to proceed to that section of the city in which the revolt above referred to was in progress, for the purpose of obtaining information as to military developments in that quarter. It is noted that Major Allen and Mr. Coe advanced, apparently during a lull in the fighting, to a point close to the National Palace, at which a machine gun nest was situated, and subsequently entered the Palace and interviewed one of the Aides to the President.
While the Department commends the personal courage displayed by Major Allen and Mr. Coe in proceeding to the scene of danger for the purpose of obtaining information as to the progress of events on the night of March 23, it is, nevertheless, inclined to doubt the wisdom of exposing members of the Embassy personnel in this manner to danger, both on their own account, because of their official status, and also by reason of the misinterpretation which their appearance on the scene of hostilities might occasion, unless imperative for the immediate protection of American lives and property. While the Department [Page 918] realizes that its officers in the field are in times of revolution and civil strife subject to danger from which they cannot be relieved, it nevertheless counts upon them to exercise due discretion in order not needlessly to expose their own lives or to embarrass their government by imprudent acts.
Very truly yours,
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