Memorandum by Mr. Jonathan B. Bingham, Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State (Braden)45
Attached is a memorandum46 which attempts to review the nature of our understandings with Peru on the eventual disposition of the alien enemies deported from Peru to the United States. In general, my conclusions can be summarized as follows:
- There was never any clear understanding as to the eventual disposition of the aliens after the war, primarily because at the time they were deported from Peru no one was thinking about the postwar period.
- The United States never made any commitments in writing or—so far as appears from the file—orally that the aliens would be returned to Peru upon Peru’s request after the war.
- At all times the Peruvians were obviously of the opinion that the aliens were theirs to control, at least to the extent that we could not do anything with the aliens without Peru’s consent. The United States never contradicted this view, and on various occasions appeared to acquiesce in it.
- The Peruvians could properly assert that, from early 1944 on, it was their understanding that the aliens were being held in this country only for the purpose of internment during the war, and that certain persons in whom Peru had a particular interest would not at any time be repatriated to Germany (or Japan) against their wishes. (The United States did not expressly confirm this understanding but it did not seek to correct it.)
Although it is the policy toward Peru which is immediately under review, I should like to point out the following:
- The situation outlined above is not peculiar to Peru. Approximately the same points could be made with regard to all the countries who sent alien enemies here for internment. The Ecuadoran Government, like Peru, has already taken the position that the aliens deported by it are still under its “jurisdiction”, and has formally stated that it was its understanding that the aliens were sent here only for internment during the course of hostilities and would be returned to it after the war. (A deposition to this effect was made yesterday by Minister-Counselor Ponce, for use in the first habeas corpus case to come up in New York. Representatives of the Department of Justice have expressed considerable concern about the effect of this testimony on the eventual decision of the court as to whether the alien is subject to the Alien Enemy Act.)
- This general situation has been recognized in all the recommendations I have made. I have never proposed that the Peruvian requests, or those from any other country, should be rejected, or that we should [Page 299] undertake to argue about what was understood by the various countries. I have merely proposed in effect that we should make one more effort to have the requests withdrawn as to those individuals who seem to us particularly bad. Ambassador Pawley has stated that such a move would be fruitless in Peru and Ambassador Scotten has made a similar statement with respect to Ecuador. I am not in a position to contradict them. However, I believe that by following this policy with all countries involved we could succeed in effecting the repatriation of a number of the bad cases from some countries, especially in Central America. On the other hand, if the decision is made that we should automatically and without further argument accede to the request of any country for the return of individuals deported from that country, I believe we would in the end get very few persons back to Germany.
- In case it is decided that we should take one more crack at trying to persuade the Peruvians and Ecuadorans to cooperate in effecting the repatriation of those who can be shown to be clearly dangerous, my Section could complete the necessary case reviews for these two countries by the end of next week.
- If it is decided to accede to Peru’s request without further argument, I believe we should insist that Peru also take back all the Japanese sent here from Peru. In its memorandum47 Peru states that it is willing to have us repatriate the Japanese to Japan on the ground that they are all “indigent.” Obviously we are not interested in a program of repatriating “indigents” to Japan and we could properly tell Peru that. Furthermore, unless we can get Peru to take the Japanese back, we shall be forced to repatriate all of them to Japan, since we have no information which would enable us to make a case-by-case review. In the very great majority of the cases, the Japanese were sent here only on the say-so of the Peruvian Government.