521. Letter From the Ambassador in Brazil (Briggs) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Holland)1

Dear Henry : Other than the major underlying problem that we discussed last June,2 namely that of a more equitable distribution of the gross national product of Peru among the Peruvians themselves, there seem to be three principal items for us to consider:

Peru–Ecuador relations. Short of dividing up Ecuador between Peru and Colombia, which might be a laudable proposition for long-range planning but doubtless impractical as an immediate objective, it would be desirable for renewed efforts to be made so that Ecuador and Peru can bury their hatchets somewhere else than in each other. The present situation is a recurring source of harassment and disturbs Inter-American relations generally. As long as there is an unsettled frontier, periodic crises will occur and furthermore each country is impelled to spend a good deal more than it can afford on armaments—money which is badly needed for national development. I hope therefore that the four guarantors of the Rio Protocol3 can shortly apply sufficient pressure so that the delimitation of the boundary can be completed. In this, it seems to me that Peru could afford to be generous.
The fisheries dispute, about which I have no particular comment beyond that contained in telegrams, other than to reiterate that I think our Latin American friends have a downhill pull and that the longer the matter drags the more the Good Neighbors are going to support the Santiago Declaration, to our possible discomfiture.
Peru’s increasing dollar indebtedness. Ever since Peru became the white-haired boy in the private enterprise classroom, this country has been contracting dollar debts for various projects, most of them probably useful. I have been unable, because of lack of economic personnel to have the kind of study made of this subject on which I hope Linville, our new Economic Counselor, can embark as soon as he unpacks his toothbrush. (He is due in October.) We should however be doing Peru no service, and possibly undermining our general program of economic collaboration, if we permit Peru to borrow more than the country can reasonably expect to repay. This situation needs scrutiny, and in the meantime I hope further credits, including those for military purposes, can be kept to a minimum.

Except for the foregoing I think things are on a fairly even keel. Needless to say we hope for a visit from you whenever you have time to travel through your new bailiwick.4

Sincerely yours,

  1. Source: Department of State, Holland Files: Lot 57 D 295, Peru. Confidential; Official–Informal.
  2. No record of this conversation has been found in Department of State files.
  3. A Protocol of Peace, Friendship, and Boundaries between Peru and Ecuador was signed at Rio de Janeiro on January 29, 1942. The protocol entered into force when it was approved by the congresses of Ecuador and Peru on February 26, 1942. For text, see 56 Stat. 1818 or 3 UST 700. The four guarantors were the United States, Argentina, Brazil, and Chile.
  4. In his reply of August 17, Holland wrote: “Your good letter of August 8 afforded me not only food for thought, but also many chuckles. I hope to get many more like it. Certainly, you have put your finger on the salient problems, and each is one with respect to which we can hope to accomplish something constructive.” (Department of State, Holland Files: Lot 57 D 295, Peru)