740.00113 European War 1939/908
The Ambassador in Peru (Norweb) to the Secretary of State
[Received June 12.]
Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Embassy’s Despatch No. 6546 of April 12, 1943 reporting promulgation of the Supreme Decree of April 10, 1943 which provided that all properties of Proclaimed List nationals not transferred to Peruvians in accordance with the provisions of Laws 9586 and 9592 by May 31, 1943 will be expropriated by the State.
A Decree dated May 20, 1943, containing the Regulations of the above mentioned Decree, has now been published, and copies in English and Spanish are forwarded to the Department as enclosures to this Despatch.40
As May 31, 1943 has come and gone without any noticeable change in the tempo of expropriation proceedings it is evident that we were justified in awaiting developments rather than attempting to make premature judgements with regard to the probable course of events. The first line of Article 1 of the Regulations which reads: “A partir del 1° de junio del presente año se procederá a la expropriation”, has apparently been understood by the administrative officers of the Peruvian Government to mean that expropriation proceedings will begin, not occur, on that date. This interpretation suits the Embassy because it applies emergency legislation in an orderly and judicious manner which is desirable in itself to say nothing of the fact that neither the Peruvian Government nor the Embassy is adequately equipped to handle transfers in any greater volume than they have heretofore been presented.
In view of our previous uncertainty in this respect, the Embassy some time ago decided that proof of the legitimacy of transfers of businesses, which were already coming to our attention and which were expected greatly to increase, would require not only extremely careful scrutiny, but also in each case some kind of commitment by the Superintendency of Economy itself. Accordingly the Embassy devised a sort of questionnaire intended to cover all of the essential points of any transaction and asked the Superintendency to submit its usual reports [Page 732] of transfers coming under its jurisdiction in the form outlined. The Superintendency was not only agreeable to the suggestion which was put into immediate effect but went further by employing a young Peruvian of good family recently graduated from Cornell to take charge of such reporting and in general to act as liaison officer between the Superintendency and the Embassy in connection with the transfer of Axis properties to Peruvian nationals. This cooperation is working out very well and the Embassy feels that substantially all of the pertinent information available to the Superintendency is being properly embodied in its reports. A copy of the questionnaire referred to above which forms the basis for such reports is forwarded herewith as an enclosure41 for the Department’s information and for suggestions regarding amplification of its scope if this should seem desirable. The information submitted with Despatches Nos. 6792 and 6784 both of May 10, 194342 represent examples of the Superintendency’s replies to the first questionnaires answered by that office.
There are still a number of points which the Embassy is trying to clear up with the Peruvian Government—such for instance as the application of the Decree of April 10 to nationalized Peruvians of Axis origin. The Embassy has not taken an uncompromising stand on this question, but has preferred to judge each case on its own merits so far as the phraseology of Peruvian legislation and the seriousness of the Embassy’s case against the individual would permit. In this respect there has been a certain amount of confusion as the Peruvian Government has not pursued a uniform policy. There is before us as we write an official document issued by the Superintendency of Economy approving the freezing of payments of purchase money to naturalized Japanese, and another official ruling by the Superintendency of Banks declaring that payments to the said individual should not be frozen because as a naturalized Peruvian citizen he is not amenable to the freezing regulations in force. There have, in fact, been a number of cases before us in which Axis subjects who have become Peruvian citizens by naturalization have been considered by one Department of the Government as full-fledged Peruvians while being regarded by another dependency of the Government as susceptible to the provisions of legislation directed against Axis individuals or companies.
There are several possible solutions to these questions, and the Embassy is keeping in close touch with the Superintendency of Economy in an endeavor to bring about the greatest degree of uniformity in expropriation procedures while seeing that serious offenders are given their just deserts.
There is for instance Law 9810 of March 22, 1943 which provides that the Peruvian Government will cancel the naturalization papers [Page 733] of any subjects of German, Italian, and Japanese origin who are found guilty of subversiveactivities or spreading propaganda. Many cases of such activities have occurred during the last two months, but as far as is known the provisions of this law have not yet been invoked in any of them. However, it is available and could conceivably be of use.
Similarly, on May 24 the Superintendency of Banks published its Circular No. 329 forbidding transactions with persons included in the “Black List’—i.e., the Proclaimed List. This circular makes no reference to the nationality of such persons although the Superintendency of Banks has always maintained that Peruvian citizens included in the Proclaimed List were not subject to the financial controls exercised over listed non-Peruvians. This circular is of so recent a date that no confirmation of the manner in which it will be administered is available. From past experience we feel justified in supposing that in practice “Black Listed” Peruvians will not be subjected to the same financial controls as foreigners, but the ruling is official and may be of use.
The Embassy has heard that a number of voluntary transfers are in negotiation but is without specific information to forward at this time. It is expected that a considerable volume of such data will become available soon.
Counselor for Economic Affairs