721.23/6: Telegram

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

50. Your 131, September 2, 5 p.m. Our Legation at Bogotá has cabled that President Olaya is very much concerned over this matter as to its possible serious effects both internally and internationally. Olaya devoutly wishes to maintain peace and will make every effort to keep the news from the public in Colombia. He believes that the Peruvian Government should issue immediately a statement disavowing the movement and should give definite instructions to the Peruvian officials on the border to give no support to the uprising and attempt to prevent shipment of arms. Colombian Minister in Washington, under instructions from his Government, has just come in to discuss the matter and to express the great anxiety of his Government.

Please see Sanchez Cerro and say very discreetly to him, on the ground of the great friendship which the United States has for both Peru and Colombia, that we hope he will take every possible step to prevent this situation from becoming serious. In order to prevent any misunderstanding of its position in this matter and the possible development of a very difficult situation, it would seem highly important for the Peruvian Government immediately to disavow the attack on Leticia and to take energetic measures to see that no arms or other assistance are sent from Peru to those occupying the town.

Please report by cable all developments and repeat your messages to Legation at Bogotá. Have you any information as to size and loyalty of the garrison at Iquitos? For your information Colombian Minister says his Government understands that the Prefect at Iquitos has reported to Lima that “the patriotic movement” to support the capture of Leticia is rapidly growing.