The Ambassador in Peru ( White ) to the Secretary of State
[Received April 3.]
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An up to date appraisal of the overall Proclaimed List situation in Peru should be useful to the Interdepartmental Committee in considering the forthcoming case-by-case reviews, which, we may as well say straight away, are going to be found quite unsatisfactory as concerns a few of the spearhead firms. The causes are explained in the following paragraphs in so far as it is possible to do so at this time.
For almost every practical purpose, the Peruvian Government’s Proclaimed List work may be considered as about ended. Finance Minister East, Minister of Foreign Affairs Gallagher, and Superintendent of Economy Pflücker consistently describe the task as completed. They insist that the remaining duties represent only simple formalities to comply with the laws governing auctions, foreclosures, loans and collections, appeals by persons indirectly affected, etc. This attitude [Page 1327] is based on their view that the existing decrees and regulations have outlawed every undesirable German and Japanese business, that none of them exist as legal entities. But they disagree with us on the question of undesirability, and have accorded total or partial immunity to such culprits as Welsch, Klinge, Woyke, Ishikawa, Bayer, Anilinas, Hardt, Ostern, etc.
Persistence, as in the past, against the “immune” group, and recommendations for eventual inclusion in the post-resistance list are the only measures within the immediate reach of the Embassies unless the policy-forming officers wish to receive suggestions on possible counter action. However, we feel that such a course is out of question at this advanced stage of Peru’s association with the United Nations.
It is believed that tactful persuasion is the only course remaining after Peru’s declaration of belligerency. This method has been used consistently, the latest example having been notes dated March 10 and 12 by the three missions to the Minister of Foreign Affairs regarding the Peruvian Government’s most uncooperative and continuous support of the Casa Welsch. There is no decent excuse for its flagrant official endorsement of one of the most obstinate pro-Nazi firms in this country. Self-explanatory copies of the three notes are enclosed.39 The results, if any, will, of course, be reported.
However, Peru has delivered effective blows against the Axis. Those who have not studied all details, nor participated in every hour of the Peruvian campaign, nor witnessed the sincerity of the responsible Peruvian executives, are apt to forget, in their zeal to detect and exterminate the very last virus, that 80 per cent or 90 per cent is about the best we can do with human elements.
There are many common factors we are apt to overlook in our determination to reach the goal of perfection. Comparing Peru’s accomplishments with those of Great Britain, Canada, the United States, and our other Allies, before war was forced directly upon them, it would appear that Peru took more drastic action sooner. As for political influence, corruption, and friendship, they produce peculiar results even beyond the territorial jurisdiction of Peru. Unbridled sentimentality is an especially potent force; it impels some to commit even injustices for a friend, but bars even justice for an enemy.…
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In résumé, the work is not completed; but it has advanced close up to the goal and will progress further. It is believed the extirpation of Axis economic activities in Peru has been sufficiently realistic and thorough to afford reasonable assurance the old roots will not easily sprout under any conditions now predictable. It is improbable that [Page 1328] an Axis agent will again try to set up in business in this country under an Axis title. The few who have remained as a result of the human weaknesses cited excuse themselves with explanations they may have been Germans, but never Nazis, that they have been deceived, etc. Others admit they simply backed the wrong horse, and I imagine that the quota of opportunists is equally distributed throughout the nations, that they were equally dangerous then and harmless now. In any event, it seems improbable that even the firms heretofore favored with total or partial immunity will survive the effects of a post-resistance list consistently applied by the Allied Governments. If any should, it seems obvious they would be such ringleaders as Bayer, Ostern, and other big German organizations which may be expected to lie underground and bide their time. It is for this reason that we believe a post-resistance list is imperative.
So far as the three Embassies in Lima40 are concerned, the superior authorities may, after receiving and considering the forthcoming case by case descriptions and our accompanying comments and recommendations, proceed with the deleting in successive supplements, of all of the minor offenders, as described in despatch No. 1976 of November 18, 1944.41 We do feel, however, that in reducing the present list to its post-resistance status, it would be advisable to apprise the Embassies of the names selected for deletion, in order to permit final examination here; and possibly consultations with the Peruvian authorities in certain cases in which they might be interested, just prior to publication of the contemplated deletions.
Counselor for Economic Affairs