The Ambassador in Brazil ( Gibson ) to the Secretary of State

No. 216

Subject: Leticia peace negotiations.

Sir: In connection with recent telegrams from this Embassy on the subject cited above, I have the honor to transmit herewith copies, in translation, of the statements recently issued by the Chairman of the Colombian and Peruvian delegations to the Leticia peace conference.

Respectfully yours,

Hugh Gibson
[Enclosure 1—Translation]

Communication From the Chairman of the Colombian Delegation (Arbeláez)8

Dr. Urdaneta Arbeláez, chairman of the Colombian Delegation to the Colombian-Peruvian Conference, assembled at this capital, gave the following statement to the press: [Page 338]

“According to the Agreement at Geneva, the following two recommendations of the Council of the League should be fulfilled:

Complete evacuation by the Peruvian troops of the territory of Leticia;
Upon fulfillment of the first recommendation, negotiations based upon the treaties in effect should begin in order to discuss all pending problems.

For the purpose of facilitating fulfillment of the first recommendation, Colombia granted authority to the League of Nations for the maximum period of one year to administer the Leticia territory through a commission designated by and in the name of the Government of Colombia.

There does not exist nor can there be established any relation whatever between the time determined by the Agreement of Geneva for the administrative commission of Leticia, and the course of the negotiations in Rio de Janeiro; these may perfectly well continue after the period mentioned has expired, as also they might have terminated before.

Colombia, with a spirit of comprehension, attends to the second of the recommendations of the Council, based upon the strict observance of the first, and nothing will more efficaciously contribute to the success of the negotiations at Rio de Janeiro, than the cordial and unreserved compliance with the Agreement of Geneva upon which it is based.

Rio de Janeiro, April 2, 1934.”

[Enclosure 2—Translation]

Communication From the Chairman of the Peruvian Delegation (Maúrtua)9

Mr. Victor Maúrtua, chairman of the Peruvian Delegation to the Peruvian-Colombian Conference assembled at this capital, sent the following statement to the press:

“The Governments of Perú and Colombia signed an Agreement at Geneva on May 25, 1933, authorized by the Council of the League of Nations.

This Agreement was for the purpose of peacefully adjusting the frontier incidents between the two countries, caused by a rebellion in Leticia of the frontier population.

It was stipulated that the disturbed zone would be evacuated and delivered, for one year, to the administration, in the name of Colombia, of a Commission of the League of Nations.

It was also provided that immediately thereafter negotiations would open between the two States, for the settlement in a just and satisfactory manner, of all the pending problems or differences, taking account of the legitimate interests of Peru.

Things are now in this state. The provisionary status of Leticia has obeyed the convenience of maintaining tranquillity on the frontier [Page 339] while negotiations are being carried on. Prudence and a sincere desire for peace, counsel no change for an additional short period of time if found necessary or useful for an understanding between the two countries.

A quiet frontier affords a great opportunity for an understanding at the Peruvian-Colombian Conference, which should not be overlooked by responsible statesmen.

We are not dealing with strict problems of law, susceptible of raising disturbing objections. We are dealing with a carefully prepared plan, back of which is a profound desire for harmony.

But while viewing the juridical side of the question, it is only just to recognize that not only in the Agreement of Geneva, as also in the Boundary Treaty which caused difficulties between Colombia and Peru, the two Parties have rights and obligations which they maintain reciprocally. The equal position of the two States will facilitate with real efficacy, the work of civilization that they are undertaking.”

  1. From the Jornal do Commercio, April 3, 1934.
  2. From the Jornal do Commercio, April 3, 1934.