The Peruvian Embassy to the Department of State
As the Chancellery of Ecuador has issued and made public a communiqué relative to the occurrences of the morning of the 18th instant in the neighborhood of the Peruvian post situated on the left bank of the Zarumilla River, called “Aguas Verdes”, the Department of Foreign Relations of Peru finds itself obliged to refute it, in view of the inexact statements contained in the text thereof.
The Ecuadoran Chancellery affirms, indeed, that “Aguas Verdes”, situated in the region of Pocitos, is under the Ecuadoran jurisdiction of Huaquillas, notwithstanding that Peru has maintained, does maintain and will continue maintaining a post of the Civil Guard with which it exercises effective sovereignty over all that region and in [Page 147]which Peruvian farmers have always cultivated and still cultivate tobacco. Peru has put all these facts on record in various notes of the Department of Foreign Relations.
This discards the possibility that an Ecuadoran patrol “was keeping watch as usual” over those places, as the Ecuadoran communiqué says. In that case, the incident must have occurred long before, because our detachment would not have failed to discharge its duty of enforcing respect for our possession and according protection to the Peruvians established in that sector of the national territory.
The allegation of pretended rights on the part of Ecuador to the region included between the two channels of the Zarumilla River, and the arguments of a geological character which are adduced do not justify the penetration of its forces into territory which it perfectly well knows is under the effective dominion of Peru and has been since before the status quo of 1936.
For the purpose of giving an honest appearance to the aggression and eluding responsibility, the Ecuadoran communiqué affirms that there was one killed on each side, suggesting the false idea that a combat was carried on. The inexactitude of this is proved by the personal identity of the two Peruvian casualties, whose burial has just taken place in the Peruvian city of Tumbes.
It is likewise inexact that a verbal agreement was reached to remove from the place the troops of both sides. The commander of the Ecuadoran detachment, Yepes, in a conference held on the 15th instant with the captain of the Peruvian Civil Guard, Sevilla, promised that his soldiers would not again cross the boundary. Notwithstanding this, three days afterwards the Ecuadoran forces entered and made a surprise attack on the Peruvian detachment which was patrolling the farm of a colonist, Villadares, being repulsed to the other side of the boundary.
After these events and on the request of the Ecuadoran officer mentioned, another meeting was held with Captain Sevilla, in which the former stated that he was ready to withdraw his forces and hoped that the latter would do the same. The Peruvian officer answered that he had no reason to withdraw from the place where he was, inasmuch as he had not advanced from his usual post, and he expressed his determination to remain there.
Ecuadoran troops are the only ones who withdrew to their own territory, after having committed a bloody attack. The Peruvian troops remained and will remain at “Aguas Verdes”.