The Ambassador in Peru (Steinhardt) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 25.]
Sir: I have the honor to report that I have been informally told today that President Benavides has approved the proposed contract for an American Naval Mission to Peru. My informant stated that the President had suggested a few inconsequential changes in the language of the proposed contract, but had instructed the Minister of Marine not to stand on these changes and to authorize Ambassador Freyre to sign the contract in the form heretofore submitted to him should the United States Government seriously object to the minor changes proposed by him.
As it now appears that the contract may be signed at any time in Washington, I take the liberty of suggesting that the Embassy be advised by telegram at the time of the actual execution of the contract sufficiently in advance of a release to the American press to permit of making an arrangement with the Foreign Office for an appropriate press release in Lima; or in the alternative, that the Department cable the Embassy an appropriate press release simultaneously with the press release in Washington. My reason for making this suggestion is that should the news be released in Washington before it is officially known to the Embassy in Lima, the resultant brief United Press cable will call for an inconspicuous news item in the Peruvian press which will stand out in sharp contrast with the extensive publicity which was carefully arranged by the Italian Legation with the Lima newspapers on the occasion when the Italian police mission and subsequently the Italian aviation mission were announced.
As a news item in the United States the announcement will be relatively unimportant. In Peru, however, if received by the Embassy in the first instance it can be effectively availed of to offset Italian propaganda. If adequate notice is given the Embassy before the United Press cable reaches Lima, I do not doubt that publicity at least equal to that given the Italian Missions can be obtained.