Memorandum by the Assistant Chief of the Division of North and West Coast Affairs (Wells)


A meeting was held in Mr. Briggs’ office on Friday, May 3, with the following in attendance:

  • Ambassador William D. Pawley
  • Mr. Ellis O. Briggs18
  • Mr. Joseph Flack19
  • Mr. Fred Searls20
  • Mr. Milton K. Wells

The Ambassador reported a definite disposition on the part of the President and other Peruvian officials, as well as Haya de la Torre, to reach some mutually agreeable arrangement for joint postwar use of the Talara air base. This disposition finally took shape the day before he left Lima in a note from the Foreign Office (being transmitted under cover of an Embassy despatch), which states that (1) the Peruvian Government notes that the emergency which occasioned the establishment of this US air base no longer exists, but that (2) the Peruvian Government, motivated by a desire to further the hemisphere defense, et cetera, would welcome discussions with the US regarding the postwar use of Talara for this purpose. The Ambassador believes this proposal definitely opens the way for a suitable arrangement. What Peru has in mind is a base commanded by a Peruvian officer, with US technical and operational personnel.

It was agreed: [Page 1215]

To await the receipt of the Peruvian Government’s proposal before talking up the matter with the Army and Navy (possibly through SWNCC).
In the meantime, Ambassador Pawley will sound out the Standard Oil people in New York in regard to future contractual arrangements for the land on which the base is located.
To delay decision on ITP’s request for permission to put down a well inside the present boundary of the field until agreement in principle is reached with the Peruvian Government.

  1. Director of the Office of American Republic Affairs.
  2. Chief of the Division of North and West Coast Affairs.
  3. Director of Production, Liaison and Coordination, Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion.