823.00 Revolutions/120: Telegram

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

71. My telegram No. 70, February 27, 8 a.m.3 Present situation may be summarized about as follows:

Center, enforced quiet under martial law.

North, Government reports success at Piura but unrest there seems spreading.

South, 2,000 troops departing tonight. Fight expected at Mollendo where cruisers Bolsi [Bolognesi?] and Grau are patrolling. Panagra according to arrangement between British Legation and Ministry of Govierno will evacuate British women and children tomorrow. Consul General says no Americans in South in any danger, Helen Ripley and her sick husband have arrived at La Paz.

Panagra pilots, Rickards and Hillman, at Arequipa are reported flying under protest to Arica under parole to return. Harris thinks Chilean authorities may detain them which would be a good thing.

Northern Commander Santibanez called upon Panagra for plane but under Embassy’s advice Panagra refused because:

Unwilling to interfere in domestic quarrel.
Interruption of international mail passenger schedules.
Government should use its own planes.

Mediation to avoid bloodshed suggested to President but he refuses and is determined to fight and put down insurrection. Rebel forces double his but he is expecting popular reaction in his favor.

The contest appears to be chiefly within the Army with people indifferent and resenting the interruption in their lives and affairs.

Americans and other foreigners minding their business and, except the airplane pilots, being unmolested.

Chinese and Japanese are fearful of attack and looting in case of disturbance and Japanese and Chinese Ministers consider position of their nationals grave and dangerous.

Kemmerer Mission4 is working hard and fast. Financial situation better with arrangements completed for March 1st service on tobacco loan. Finance Minister after consultation with President has informed me:

That Peru will do everything possible to meet her obligations.
That she can pay part of the national loan service and will pay as large a portion as possible.
That he will be guided by advice of Kemmerer Mission.
In view of Peru’s good faith such assistance as is possible and appropriate under the circumstances will be sought from bondholders and bankers.

It is not possible to say whether decisive events may be expected in the next few days or not. I am inclined to think situation now amounts to practical civil war and may continue for some time. There is suspicion as to the loyalty of some of the troops. Many diverse elements now active make for anarchy and continued disturbances. Lima, now held quiet by force of arms, could become chaotic and dangerous. There are a number of savage and criminal men in this vicinity who would form in dangerous mobs if authority breaks down. Department should keep this possibility clearly in mind but I am not yet ready to ask for any definite measures, wishing to avoid any appearance of interference or concern and any act that would have unfortunate repercussions elsewhere in South America.

  1. Not printed.
  2. The Kemmerer Mission went to Peru early in 1931 at the invitation of the Federal Reserve Bank of Peru to make a survey of Peruvian finances (823.51A Kemmerer Mission/3).