537. Telegram From the Chargé in Peru (Neal) to the Department of State1

176. Joint State–USIS. Senator Juan Manuel Pena Prado important Pradista leader, nephew of and close to President and connected with local banking and mining interests, yesterday led strongest attack in high quarters on US within memory Embassy staff. Other Senators joined in and applause from gallery reported enthusiastic. Senator [Gallo] Porras, President Foreign Relations Committee (Independent–Lima) favored urging President Prado look into possibilities establishing commercial relations with Communist countries. Several other Senators supported his view.

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Pena gave as one reason for death great numbers guano birds that US tuna clippers were fishing for bait indiscriminately in Peruvian waters thus depleting food supply usually consumed by birds. (Embassy telegrams 137, 147, 167.)2 US tuna clippers thus held as responsible for threat to important guano industry. Urged Navy Minister take effective steps to patrol Peruvian waters. (Motion to this effect adopted.) Pena also referred failure of US Congress take action on Peru’s request for merchant ships and quoted Peruvian Vice President’s statement Vice President Nixon has promised him Congress would act on matter this session. Said US action this respect seriously affects economy Peruvian merchant fleet. (Embassy telegram 173.)3

Referring lead and zinc Pena reportedly emphasized proposed higher US tariffs inspired by members US Congress who have interest in mines and who seek enrichment at cost of Peruvian ruin. Also referred past US action injurious Peru on cotton and sugar.

Senator Sologuren (Independent–Tacna) criticized US for encouraging production barbasco with good prices and then closing market after plantings made. (Embassy despatch 626, May 9, 1957.)4

Some general comments by Pena and others were (1) seems neither good neighbor nor good partner policy exists in US, (2) we hope US does not continue acting within egotistical policy. Senator Dammert (Belaundista–Lima): US adopting dog in manger attitude; if it does not wish buy from Peru ought not oppose Peru sales to others (Iron Curtain). Senator Sologuren: US is commercial country where dollar takes precedence over any other motive.

Comment: This explosion of criticism against US has been building up for some time. GOP believes US has acted adversely or not acted at all on numerous matters which closely affect Peruvian welfare. Press often repeats remarks that US really does not care about LA or Peru. Other points not mentioned in Senate but which have bearing general attitude are resentment over our invitation President Ibanez (Embassy telegram 161)5 and failure to satisfy Peru on naval vessels.

Embassy believes most of what was said yesterday in Senate was said in anger. Nevertheless US has suffered psychologically in Peru as result. Numerous erroneous notions regarding US have been [Page 1080] given headline attention and will be most difficult correct. La Prensa formerly notably pro-US on nearly all subjects has led all other daily papers in severity of headline and editorial attacks.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, DullesHerter Series. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to Buenos Aires. A copy was attached to a memorandum from Fisher Howe to Brigadier General Andrew J. Goodpaster. The memorandum reads: “Subject: Peruvian Congressional Attack on U.S. The Secretary has asked that the enclosed cable from Embassy Lima, subject above, be sent to the President.”
  2. Dated August 15, 17, and 20, respectively, none printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 611.236/8–1557, /8–1757, and /8–2057, respectively)
  3. Dated August 21, not printed. (Ibid., 723.5621/8–2157)
  4. Despatch 626 concerned economic problems in the Inquitos area. (Ibid., 823.00/5–957)
  5. In telegram 161, August 19, Ambassador Achilles reported that the Peruvian Foreign Minister had sent for him that day “to express concern Chilean President Ibanez being invited to visit US in absence of prior or concurrent invitation to President Prado.” (Ibid., 725.11/8–1957)