823.00 Revolutions/103: Telegram

The Ambassador in Peru (Dearing) to the Secretary of State

57. My 53, February 21, 2 p.m.2 Reports just received from Panagra, Peruvian Corporation, United Press and the Government from Arequipa indicate revolutionary outbreak at Arequipa last night headed by Colonel Garcia Godos who was last reported in Ecuador and operating with dissatisfied Army elements in the North and in cooperation with Castillo at Piura. Government has just issued following official statement:

“A Leguiista revolt which occurred yesterday in Callao had ramifications in other parts of the country. Last night part of the garrison at Arequipa rebelled. The insurrection was headed by some officers allied with Leguiismo and also some civilians. Troops from Tacna, Cuzco and Puno are marching on Arequipa. Traffic in the port of Mollendo has been closed. The Government is resolved to punish the revolting officers.[”]

Southbound Panagra plane carrying U.S. mail including possibly official pouches to Chile and Argentina held up at Arequipa. Captain Harris, General Manager Panagra, fears further trouble but does not wish to invoke diplomatic assistance except as last resort and will make every effort to put mail through regardless of interruptions.

Director of Ministry of Government has very cordial relations with Harris and Acting Prefect at Arequipa, Beytia, is reported a fair and reasonable man.

Captain Harris states Beytia delivered the Tacna garrison to Sanchez Cerro in the revolt of last August and was then very close to him.

Government has authorized Panagra mail planes to go and come directly Lima Arica. Communication with Arequipa cut but following messages were exchanged between Captain Harris and Panagra at Arequipa early this afternoon.

(1) Trimotor held up Arequipa by order of Prefect. Send Fairchild to take mail to Arica. It should remain in Arica.

(2) Captain Harris replied:

Point out to Prefect responsibility incurred in holding or delaying plane with foreign registry transporting international mail. Request authorization to despatch Ford early Sunday direct to Arica to fulfill international mail schedule to the North. Advise hour arrival and departure Fairchild. Two passengers for Miami awaiting plane at Arica.

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(3) Later Captain Harris telegraphed:

Cable immediately status of Ford and crew since we do not desire take matter up with American Government unless rights likely to be infringed.

Captain Harris says he has telegrams from Tacna as late as 4 o’clock this afternoon inquiring the whereabouts of the mail planes, thus indicating no trouble at Tacna.

A Lockheed Vega plane was ordered to leave Arica at 4:20 to proceed to Arequipa, pick up the mail and carry it on to Chile and Argentina.

Captain Harris thinks the planes are wanted for observation and the transportation of leading officers and possibly for bombardment; he even feels that the unsigned messages he has received from Arequipa may be a trick to enable the revolutionists to have additional planes sent so they can take possession of them.

Embassy will withhold action until requested by Captain Harris to move but is standing by to assist in any way possible and will send special representative to Arequipa, if necessary and feasible, meanwhile every effort is being made to establish trustworthy lines of communication.

The Director of Government says that the revolt is a matter for only 2 or 3 days and that the garrisons at Tacna, Puno the [and] Cuzco are absolutely loyal but this may be somewhat discounted.

Mr. Grant of Peruvian Corporation states General Cooper, now in Arequipa, is held there and unable to return by plane; that communications are cut and that all forces are in revolt.

It is too early with meager information on hand to estimate the force of the southern movement. The north seems quiet but Beingolea, Minister of Gobernacion, is still at Talara and conditions there are obscure. The Navy’s best boat, the Grau, is at Talara and only one cruiser and five submarine boats are at Callao. It is unlikely to cast its lot with southern revolutionists unless strong Army faction in Lima revolts; and, in view of the Government’s success in dominating the Callao outbreak of yesterday this seems improbable.

A report current for some time is that Chile has assisted this southern movement. A more persistent report is that if the South cannot overturn the Lima Government it will set up an independent government and has an understanding with Bolivia for joining that country somewhat later on, an operation which would very likely cause widespread South American readjustment with Chile, Bolivia, the Argentine and Peru being the chief actors in the drama.

Censorship is being maintained.

  1. Not printed.