710 Consultation 4/8–1847

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Armour)72


Today I lunched with the Peruvian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Enrique García Sayán. He brought up the economic question and indicated that his country would favor the Mexican plan to have the question referred to the Inter-American Social and Economic Council.73 In such case, he felt that the Council should be strengthened by the designation of special representation. In the meantime he realized that certain of the more immediate problems affecting Peru could be taken up with us on a bilateral basis and in this connection expressed appreciation of the helpful attitude shown by the President of the Exim Bank and others during his recent visit to the United States.

He then referred to the matter of aggression and said that while he was in agreement that there should be no modification in the language of the Act of Chapultepec to the extent of making a distinction between aggression from abroad and within the continent, nevertheless he felt that in practice there would be a difference in approach in the two cases. He said that certain members of his delegation were frankly worried as to how armed force would be used in the case of aggression by one American country against another and cited as a hypothetical case an attack by Chile against Bolivia. If such an event, it might be that Peru and Argentina would be the only countries ready to use their armed forces and Chile might then try to turn the tables by charging aggression against these two countries and we might find ourselves faced with a very difficult situation. However, he said that this was an extreme case which he did not anticipate would ever arise but it did show the need for careful examination as to how the proposed plan would work out in practice should we ever have to resort to extreme measures. The point he wished to make was, he said, that in the case of aggression or a threat of aggression within the continent, all the procedures of pacific settlement should be exhausted before resort should be had to more extreme measures.

Referring to the consultative body he thought this should be the Pan American Union and suggested that perhaps the charter of the Union could be changed by which the Foreign Ministers of the various countries could be made the representatives and they in turn could designate their representatives. This would have the advantage that [Page 38] in the event of an urgent call there would be a body ready to act: when the Ministers could not come themselves their representatives would be there and prepared to handle the case promptly. I suggested that his proposal might affect the standing of the representation. In other words, where the various governments are now represented by ambassadors or special representatives, under his plan they would be merely deputies for the Foreign Ministers. He agreed that this was perhaps not a practical suggestion but he had been merely thinking out loud.

The Minister then referred to the Peruvian-Ecuadorian Boundary question. He said that he had dined with the Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Señor Trujillo at the latter’s invitation and that they had reached an agreement to settle the latest boundary incident between themselves. The larger issue still, of course, remained in the competence of the four Guarantor Powers.

N. A[rmour]
  1. Mr. Armour was also Political Adviser to the U.S. delegation to the Conference.
  2. For documentation concerning the economic question in Peru, see pp. 998 ff.