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

No. 2371

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my despatch No. 2331 of November 10, 1932, regarding the probability of the early completion of a boundary treaty with Ecuador, to the Department’s telegram No. 76 of November 17, 11 [6] p.m.,13 and to the Embassy’s telegram No. 228 of November 18, midnight,13 and to enclose to the Department herewith an interesting memorandum13 from Mr. Ackerson after a talk with Dr. Ricardo Ribero Schreiber, formerly Peruvian Minister to Ecuador.

I saw my Ecuadorian colleague momentarily yesterday and he has informed me he will soon stop at the Embassy for a talk. I could not open up the subject of the treaty with him when I saw him.

In view of all that has been reported to the Embassy from two or three quite trustworthy sources, it is all the more amazing to receive the President’s flat statement that no boundary treaty with Ecuador is going to be signed, and that such a thing has not even been considered!

In the same conversation in which he told me this, in response to my direct question, the President indicated rather plainly that there was a lack of confidence between himself and his cabinet; so it may be the case that some negotiations have been going along of which the President has not been kept fully informed. The subject seemed to be a trifle bothersome for him and I accordingly did not press the matter. He asked me, rather searchingly, where I had heard anything to that effect and I told him that it was a matter of common report in Lima and that I had also had word from Ecuador and from Washington, but I did not reveal my source of information in any more than this general way.

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After I had spoken with the President in the morning, I had an opportunity to speak to one of his closest personal advisers in the afternoon, Señor Rosendo Badani, who, without my asking anything about Ecuador and in another connection, informed me that Peru considers Ecuador to be the critical factor in the present general situation and in the dispute with Colombia.

Señor Badani stated that Colombia was moving heaven and earth to bring Ecuador in on the Colombian side and that Peru felt that the most effective way to meet this situation was by arming herself as heavily as possible and presenting so formidable a picture to Ecuador that if Ecuador did not side with Peru, it would at least abide by its proclaimed neutrality and not side with Colombia.

Señor Badani was not much inclined to estimate the significance of the Ecuadorian memorandum of November 12. He declared, however, that it was not likely, for physical and geographical reasons, that there will be much fighting in the Amazon; he felt that the possession of the head waters of most of the rivers to the north of the Amazon did give Ecuador a right to insist upon being considered in connection with the Amazon situation in general, and he thought that if any attack were made upon Peru, it would be from a base in Ecuador and against northern Peru. That is why, he stated, the President is anxious to arm as heavily as possible. The implication was that the President would do everything he could to strengthen the situation in northern Peru and bluff Ecuador into cooperation or inaction.

A part of this theory may be speculation on Señor Badani’s part. The Department will recall the reports recently reaching the Embassy of serious army disaffection in the north and of a declaration that the northern troops would not fight Colombia. Please see, in connection with this report, the Embassy’s despatch No. 2360 of November 18, 1932, despatch No. 2333 of November 10, 1932,14 and the Embassy’s other recent despatches regarding the Ecuadorian angle of the Colombia-Peruvian dispute.

Respectfully yours,

Fred Morris Dearing
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