811.24523/9–846: Telegram

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

us urgent

972. After several conversations with both President and FonMin continued at intervals since September 5 when urtel 769 was received, following confidential memorandum was given me signed by FonMin same being required by me before sending note tomorrow acceding to Peru’s jurisdictional demands respecting US personnel involved in Talara incident July 28.

“Talara incident July 28, 1946—memorandum of conversation between the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Peru and the Ambassador of the US in Lima September 8, 1946.

[Page 1247]

The Government of the US having given instructions to the Ambassador in Lima to submit the US soldiers implicated in the incident which occurred at Talara on July 27–28 last to Peruvian jurisdiction, the Ambassador above-named has requested and received from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Peru the following statements:

The Government of Peru will take the precautions necessary to assure the personal safety and health of the accused US soldiers. Adequate protection will be furnished to avoid acts of violence or hostility on the part of individuals or groups during the legal process.
The Govt of Peru within the sphere of its powers will use its good offices to recommend the speeding up of the course of the legal process; being able to calculate reasonably that the judicial procedure shall be terminated in about 2 months from the time of the appearance of the US soldiers provided that the condition of the health of Sergeant Eiland permits him to give testimony and appear before the court of Piura.
While there is no order of detention or imprisonment emanating from the Peruvian judges the US soldiers implicated in the incident will be permitted to remain their barracks at the military base of El Pato during the time this base remains in charge of the US Air Forces.
If any of said North Americans shall be submitted to detention or imprisonment under orders of Peruvian judges those detained or arrested can receive provisions from outside to satisfy their customary food requirements in addition to those which they receive in accordance with the prison regime of Peru.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs stated that in the judgment of the Peruvian Government the process of trial of the US soldiers will be expedited by reason of the fact that a special judge has been named by the Superior Court of Piura in accordance with its power under the law.”

Interviews culminating in above all readily granted and conducted in spirit of cordiality yet Peru unwilling to sign assurances until 8 tonight. Sent Legal Attaché to Piura Saturday to inspect jail conditions while Air Attaché, Assistant Military Attaché, Dr. Giesecke and prominent Peruvian attorney proceeded to Talara to ascertain present condition of Sgt Eiland and otherwise to report on situation prior to my submitting final request for assurances for protection US Army personnel involved. Sgt Eiland still in desperate condition having lost 50 pounds and undergone 20 blood transfusions with major operation still necessary on account bowel movement now through side. Unable to secure fuller protection Sgt Eiland in writing in spite desperate condition although abundant verbal assurance that he will be protected from molestation in any way and allowed every facility for recovery. I contemplate giving statement to press tomorrow respecting Sgt Eiland’s condition pursuant telephone conversation this afternoon with Ellis Briggs. Jail condition at Piura bad with 3 large rooms containing about a hundred Peruvian criminals each. Jail food reported unfit for US soldiers. Necessary for US army to furnish food [Page 1248] for soldiers while in Peruvian hands and advisable to keep them on base as long as possible [and submit?] them to court when necessary. Little indication at present of mob violence although is a situation to be watched. Am working for prompt release of some of the 8 soldiers involved.

Again would appreciate authorization to employ Peruvian counsel for soldiers.

Repeated American Embassy Panama for General Crittenberger.