823.00 Revolutions/373

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

No. 2097

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my despatch No. 1938 of July 18, and the Department’s telegram No. 40 of August 9, 12 noon, regarding the employment by the Peruvian Government, during domestic disorders, of pilots of the Pan American Grace Airways who are American citizens, and to enclose copies of the Embassy’s note to the [Page 960] Foreign Office No. 288 of August 10, 1932, the Foreign Office’s reply thereto dated August 29, 1932 with translation, and the Embassy’s note No. 297 [296] of September 12 [10], 1932.

Since the July Trujillo revolution, the Government has not requisitioned Panagra planes or pilots, but the question is almost certain to recur. A very delicate situation now exists with the Leticia incident with Colombia,7 complicating an acute domestic unrest.

In the event of local uprising, it is probable that the Government would wish to utilize Panagra planes which can only be flown by American citizens. Both the Company and the pilots themselves object to undergoing the risks inherent to military missions, but the Company is not in a position to protest too strongly, first, because of its contract with the Government whereby it agreed to furnish its planes and equipment gratuitously in the event of domestic disorder, and, second, because it must maintain amicable relations with the Government in order to be free in the conduct of its business from as many harassing regulations and retaliatory restrictions as possible. Thus, it appears that the course to be taken is that followed during the Trujillo revolution, namely, when the Embassy deems that the safety or lives of American citizens are imperiled, to informally advise them that they accept Government military service at their own risk and that they cannot be forced to undertake such service through any provisions in the contract between the Company and the Peruvian Government. They will, of course, be informed that no contractual stipulations deprive them of their right to protection as American citizens.

I should be very grateful for the Department’s instructions and after their receipt shall make appropriate reply to the Foreign Office note.

Respectfully yours,

Fred Morris Dearing
[Enclosure 1]

The American Ambassador (Dearing) to the Peruvian Minister for Foreign Affairs (Freundt Rosell)

No. 288

Excellency: I have the honor to refer to the Embassy’s note No. 281 of July 12, 1932, regarding the use by Your Excellency’s Government of pilots who are American citizens in the employ of the Panagra Company at times of domestic disorder. I have the honor also to refer [Page 961] to Your Excellency’s note No. 61 of July 13th in reply and to say that I furnished copies of both these notes to my Government.

I have now received from my Government a cable instruction directing me to say to Your Excellency’s Government, with regard to this subject, that the Government of the United States denies the right of the authorities of Your Excellency’s Government to compel citizens of the United States to fly aeroplanes in military operations and does not admit that the immunity of such citizens from such enforced service is affected by provisions in the contract between the Peruvian Government and the Peruvian Airways Corporation, since it is derived from their status as citizens of the United States, and the right of the Government of the United States to protect its citizens cannot be contracted away.

I avail myself [etc.]

Fred Morris Dearing
[Enclosure 2—Translation]

The Peruvian Minister for Foreign Affairs (Freundt Rosell) to the American Ambassador (Dearing)

No. 76

Mr. Ambassador: Referring to Your Excellency’s No. 288 dated August 10, 1932, concerning the recognition by the Panagra Company of the right of the Government of Peru to utilize the airplanes of the Company and the services of the pilots who operate them, I have the honor to call the attention of Your Excellency to the fact that the statement which your Government has charged you by telegraph to make to mine, is founded in the erroneous conception that Peruvian authorities oblige American citizens to operate airplanes in military movements, whereas such obligation was assumed voluntarily by the Company in the contract which it entered into with my Government. If this contract in any manner affects the immunity of these citizens, it is certainly not because the authorities oblige a forced service, but in virtue of a freely contracted obligation, the responsibility for which can not be blamed on my Government, inasmuch as it was the American Panagra Company which engaged for the services of its pilots in the emergencies of military operations. Regarding which, and in all truthfulness, I should certify that we have no advices that either the company or its pilots have entered objections to the obligation which they contracted. Thus, if the status of American citizens and the right of protection which corresponds to Your Excellency’s Government cannot be the subject of contractual stipulations, neither is it possible to doubt the right of these same citizens to contract [Page 962] personal obligations in determined emergencies, without grounds for the exercise of diplomatic protection in their behalf, inasmuch as they acquiesce in the carrying out of the obligations they assume with prescindence [prescindencia] of this protection.

I am confident that when the Government of Your Excellency considers this aspect of the matter, it will feel disposed to clarify the sense of the instructions which it imparted on the subject to Your Excellency by cable.

I take [etc.]

A. Freundt Rosell
[Enclosure 3]

The American Ambassador (Dearing) to the Peruvian Minister for Foreign Affairs (Zavala Loayza)

No. 296

Excellency: I have the honor to refer to Your Excellency’s note Number 76 of August 29, 1932, concerning the right of the Government of Peru to utilize in times of domestic disorders the services of American citizens who are pilots of the Panagra Company, and have put before my Government the consideration therein expressed.

I shall be glad to communicate to your Excellency such reply as my Government may instruct me to make.

I avail myself [etc.]

Fred Morris Dearing
  1. See pp. 270 ff.