527. Editorial Note

Telegram 587 from Lima, April 12, reported that the Peruvian Government had officially requested assistance to cope with a serious drought in the southern part of the country. Embassy personnel had been aware of drought conditions in the Puno–Cuzco area for some time and agreed that the need for aid was serious. The final paragraph of the telegram urged “maximum effort meet Peruvian requirement for economic, political and humanitarian reasons.” (Department of State, Central Files, 411.2341/4–1256)

Telegram 598 from Lima, April 17, reported that the Peruvian Minister of Agriculture had given the Foreign Minister a statement of the emergency needs resulting from the drought, and the Foreign Office was drafting an official note requesting United States assistance. The Ambassador suggested that, because the Peruvian Government lacked experience in handling famine relief, the Department of State should consider sending a competent administrator with experience in that field to work with the Peruvian officials. (Ibid., 411.2341/4–1756)

Telegram 410 to Lima, April 18, informed the Embassy that the Department would be sympathetic to the Peruvian request for assistance, and listed some tentative amounts of supplies that it could consider sending. According to the telegram, the Department was studying the relative merits of handling the relief aid under Title I of Public Law 480, or a combination of Titles I and II. (Under Title I, surplus agricultural commodities were sold to the recipient country for foreign currency; under Title II they were given to the recipient country.) (Ibid.)