529. Telegram From the Ambassador in Peru (Briggs) to the Department of State 1

637. Re my phone call to Lyon this morning.2 Without minimizing difficulties Department has overcome in working out with other agencies concerned emergency relief program for Peru, I apprehend that manner of our proposed reply may rob American generosity of large part of benefit in terms Peruvian goodwill which should legitimately accrue to US Government. In fact I foresee that note embodying Icato 2293 may produce effect of striking friend with wet fish. It can impair goodwill instead of creating it and can encourage our enemies falsely to accuse us of being busybodies governed by selfish motives.

For example Peru can allege we are using her need in order to force pending PL 480 agreement down government’s throat, whereas that arrangement should be divorced from pending appeal for help. (We have good prospect of working out that agreement which we understand has now been approved all along lines: its prior acceptance by Peru has no place in relief agreement).4

Again, to demand pledge of “complete information” (paragraph 4d) in present circumstances of excellent USOM collaboration from Peru is clearly superfluous, if not pointedly declaring lack of confidence in Peru’s ability with our cooperation to handle program.

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Thirdly, bag marking pledge (paragraph 4b) a desirable provision, can be worked out as program develops but should have no place as initial commitment demanded of Peru in exchange for our aid. (For instance, we can inform Peru that we are labeling bags of relief grain “al Peru de sus amigos Norte Americanos” or some such legend, and request authority put similar marking on goods landed in bulk Southern ports. I am confident Peru will have no objection provision this nature if appropriately presented).

What I hope to receive is authorization inform Peru in effect that US Government:

Heedful of friend’s emergency need and appeal for aid to meet that need, is prepared to furnish as contribution commodities specified FOB US ports, shipments to begin soonest and
In addition US Government prepared make loan to Peru on favorable terms to cover purchase of other commodities specified as soon as negotiations pursuant existing US legislation can be completed. Such provision as those set forth in paragraph 4 can be explained orally to Peruvian officials without impact I foresee if they are now embodied in our written reply to Peruvian request for assistance.

I repeat that generosity of our response and good effect thereof on our relations can be undermined by manner of our reply and “eat it dear, its spinach” aspect of provisions cited. As Department aware we are not infrequently criticized by our Latin American friends on precisely this score.

Respectfully bespeak Department’s further consideration in light this message.5

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 411.2341/5–256. Confidential; Niact.
  2. No record of this telephone conversation has been found in Department of State files.
  3. Supra .
  4. Telegram 440 to Lima, May 4, advised the Ambassador that the Spanish and English texts of the P.L. 480 agreement with Peru that the Embassy had previously transmitted to Washington were acceptable, and he could proceed to sign the agreement. It stated that the Department of Agriculture planned to announce the signing of the agreement on May 7. (Department of State, Central Files, 411.2341/4–556)
  5. A handwritten notation on the source text notes that the matter was clarified by a telephone conversation between Bernbaum and the Ambassador on May 3.

    Telegram 667 from Lima, May 10, reported that a Foreign Office note of May 8 accepted with gratitude the offer of aid made in an Embassy note of May 4. (Ibid., 823.49/5–1056) Despatch Toica A–822, May 22, transmitted a translation of the Foreign Office note of May 8.