811.24523/8–2046: Telegram

The Ambassador in Peru (Cooper) to the Secretary of State

us urgent

900. Reply of Foreign Office to my note of regret sent August 7 respecting Talara incident as follows:

“I have honor to acknowledge receipt Your Excellency’s note No. 88 of 7th this month in which you express ‘the sincere regret and profound concern of Government of United States of America in respect to the unfortunate incident which occurred at Talara early in morning July 28, involving three United States Army enlisted personnel and Ensign Alberto Rubio of Peruvian Navy and other persons’.

“Your Excellency states, in addition, you have ‘caused thorough investigation to be made’, and that as result of investigation you ‘have learned that injuries sustained were inflicted coincident with shooting and wounding of United States Army Sergeant by this Naval officer’.

“Your Excellency adds that ‘the Government of United States having assumed responsibility for this incident with respect to own personnel has already taken steps to vigorously punish those of its citizens found guilty’. Your Excellency also says in the note under acknowledgement that Government of the United States ‘will do everything possible to prevent incidents of this nature recurring in future’. You finally add that ‘Government of United States has most highly valued and greatly appreciated long friendship that has existed between Republic of Peru and Government of United States has taken great pride in doing its best toward maintaining these good relations down through the years and will continue to do so’.

“In accepting with pleasure expressions of sincere regret and profound concern of Your Excellency’s Government contained in note under acknowledgement I believe it necessary to make evident that form on which Your Excellency refers to events which took place in Talara on early morning July 28 does not coincide with version this incident transmitted in official despatches sent to Minister Marine which have been transcribed in this office. According to those reports Ensign Alberto Rubio, walking in company of other persons, was attacked by surprise by group of approximately 10 members of enlisted personnel of American Air Corps from El Pato Base who were in drunken condition. The attackers without any motive made occupants of automobile in which Ensign Rubio was, get out of vehicle and then attacked them, forcing them to disperse. In these circumstances Ensign Rubio [Page 1236] was attacked in violent form by the majority of the North American soldiers. During the fight and in self defense Ensign Rubio, who was in uniform and in a calm condition, took out a pistol which he carried threatening them with a shot in the air, so they would not continue attacking him. The attackers did not pay attention to the threat and threw themselves on him, giving him strong blows to disarm him. It was under these circumstances and after attack of which Ensign Rubio was the object that one of the aggressors became wounded. The above mentioned Ensign Rubio was in state of unconsciousness and it was necessary to hospitalize him.

“I believe it necessary to express to Your Excellency for this reason that attackers Ensign Rubio have been submitted for judgment to Peruvian courts, which are the ones which must investigate the facts and apply legal sanction to guilty. Competent judge of Paita has opened proceedings against North American citizen Oscar Eiland for crime of injury and has ordered his provisional arrest and Naval zone of Republic has instigated suit to make the clarifications and apply sanction for which there may be occasion.

“Agreement signed between Governments of Peru and United States of America 24 April, 1942,58 does not grant any exception to Peruvian jurisdiction; rather it establishes that ‘authorities of United States will take care that their personnel respect all police and traffic regulations of Peruvian Government outside of area where they are stationed and that they are subject to the laws of the country’.

“I reiterate to Your Excellency the pleasure of Government of Peru for expressions of regret contained in note under acknowledgement and take this opportunity to renew to you the assurances of my highest and most distinguished consideration.”

My comment on Peruvian reply is that it was made just prior to evening session of Congress and represents only official statements so far of Peruvian Foreign Office on Talara incident. Consider it reasonably mild in tone, view local circumstances. In last night’s Senate session Communist Senator Flores stated that more than 20 days ago the Talara incident had been reported but that the country still had no exact information as to what had happened. He characterized my note of regret as being in accord good neighbor policy. He stated that Minister of Marine had not sufficiently enlightened the Senate and that what he wanted to know was whether aggressors had been arrested or left country, and if they had left country they should be brought back and tried according to laws of Peru. He did state that he did not have the slightest doubt that the great Republic of the North would proceed in this case with due correctness and without hiding those who might be found guilty. He requested that Ministers of Foreign Relations and Marine be given a transcript of his remarks in the Senate. Deputy Ponce Ratto, Union Parliamentarian, referred to the request made by the Chamber in the last secret session [Page 1237] and asked that communications again be sent to the Ministers of Marine, Aviation and Foreign Affairs with respect to his previous statement as to the legal status of the North American base El Pato at Talara.

See mytel 89959 respecting interview with Haya de la Torre.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.