The Secretary of State to the Peruvian Ambassador ( Freyre )

Excellency: I have the honor to refer to Your Excellency’s note of October 21, 1941 regarding the requisitioning of certain airplanes [Page 523] in transit through the United States from Canada to Peru, and to your note of December 20 [12], 1941 requesting compensation for these same airplanes.

In accordance with the announced intention of this Government in this case and the established procedure of paying adequate compensation for requisitioned material, it is my pleasure to advise you that the United States has agreed to pay to Your Excellency’s Government the sum of $1,266,729.32, a check for which has already been delivered to Your Excellency.44

In the present instance, the legal basis for the action of the Government of the United States in requisitioning the airplanes rests on the fact that the planes, whatever may have been their origin and destination, were in the United States and therefore subject to its jurisdiction and amenable to its laws. The Act of October 10, 1940 (Public, Numbered 829, Seventy-sixth Congress) authorizes the President, when he determines that it is necessary in the interest of national defense, to requisition and take over any military or naval equipment, munitions, et cetera, “ordered, manufactured, procured, or possessed for export purposes, the exportation of which has been denied in accordance with the provisions of section 6 of the Act approved July 2, 1940 (Public, Numbered 703, Seventy-sixth Congress).” The airplanes in question were admittedly possessed for the purpose of export to Peru. Their export has been denied in accordance with the provisions of section 6 of the Act approved July 2, 1940 (Public, Numbered 703, Seventy-sixth Congress) by the revocation of the export license issued in accordance with the provisions of section 6. The case is therefore clearly within the terms of the Act of October 10, 1940.

As I indicated in my note of October 17, it is regretted that the Peruvian Government has been inconvenienced by the requisitioning of these airplanes, and I hope that Your Excellency and Your Excellency’s Government, in sympathetic understanding of the fact that it was impracticable to give prior notice, will find it possible to agree that the seizure of the airplanes was necessitated by the exigencies of national defense. This point of view has been adequately justified, as I am sure Your Excellency’s Government will agree, by the felonious attack of Japan on the United States on December 7, 1941.

My Government has noted with deep appreciation Your Excellency’s statement that the Government of Peru shares the preoccupation of my Government with the problem of continental defense. It is gratifying to the Government and the people of the United States that Your Excellency’s Government, realizing the importance of [Page 524] measures designed for the common protection of all the American republics, is willing and prepared to appraise those measures in an ample spirit of cooperation and solidarity.

Accept [etc.]

Cordell Hull
  1. On January 13, 1942.