722.2315/15035: Telegram

The Peruvian Minister for Foreign Affairs (Solf y Muro) to the Secretary of State


The Government of Peru has received the cablegram in which Your Excellency is good enough to advise it that the Governments of the Argentine Republic, Brazil and the United States of America offer “their friendly services for the prompt, equitable and final settlement of the boundary dispute pending between Ecuador and Peru, in the hope of removing, under these grave circumstances, any situation [Page 224] which, by prejudicing “the harmonious relations between two sister republics, may diminish or undermine the strength of continental solidarity”. My Government, highly appreciating these proposals, recalls that it is the second time that Argentina, Brazil and the United States of America have taken this position. In 1910, a serious condition of tension having been caused by the Ecuadoran rejection of the Spanish arbitration, the three countries succeeded in removing the danger of a conflict.19 They then asked for the withdrawal of the forces encamped on the frontiers and proposed the final settlement of the dispute through the mediation, which Ecuador rejected, affirming “that Ecuador is the only one who has to decide whether or not the dispute with Peru affects her vital interests, the national honor and the sovereignty of the State itself”. According to the Ecuadoran Government direct arrangements were the “most decorous means” and “most fitting for sister nations” to put an end to the dispute, “with no other judge than the good offices of our most illustrious and great friends.” While noting these facts, which constitute the best proof that Peru is not responsible for the prolongation of the dispute, my Government must re-state, in the first place, the unwavering juridical position of my country of respect for the popular will from which our nationalities emerged, the basic principle in the argument maintained by Peru in the arbitration proceedings at Madrid and repeated in the Washington conferences. It is therefore an unavoidable duty to declare that my Government cannot admit that, at any time, the sovereign rights of Peru over the provinces of Tumbes, Jaén and Mainas which, in 1821, swore the independence of Peru under the aegis of General San Martín and which afterward participated in the definitive establishment of the Peruvian State, and have been represented in the congresses of Peru up to the present time, be made a matter of argument. Peru is disposed to settle her boundary dispute, but not to admit a controversy concerning the nationality of provinces which have been a part of Peru for 120 years, and in which are large Peruvian populations which have expressed their energetic protest against the separatist claims of Ecuador. Peru’s position is one of most fervent adherence to peace, but she demands, also, respect for her international personality. To discuss the nationality of three Peruvian provinces or merely to begin with an assumed right to do so would imply the intention to disintegrate the personality of Peru, formed by her constituent parts since her independence, to revise the work of American independence and the principles of obedience to the popular will in the formation of nationalities [Page 225] and to introduce a grave confusion in the international order, which is based on respect for the personality of States fixed by their sacred initial constitution. The situation created by regrettable incidents which lead the friendly Governments to fear “the possibility of dangerous developments” will readily disappear, as has happened on previous occasions, with the simple observance of Ecuador of the status quo guaranteed by agreements concluded since independence. In consonance with the principles stated, which Your Excellency will properly appreciate, the Government of Peru accepts the good offices offered by the Governments of Argentina, Brazil and the United States of America, to the end that the atmosphere of cordiality and sincere collaboration between the two countries may be restored.

I avail myself [etc.]

Alfredo Solf y Muro