349. Editorial Note

Documentation on U.S. relations with Peru is being printed in the accompanying microform supplement rather than in the printed volume. A narrative summary, based on that documentation, is provided below, along with a purport list of the documents. The numbers cited in this summary correspond to the document numbers in the purport list and the microform supplement.

U.S. relations with Peru during the last 3 years of the Eisenhower administration were dominated by Peruvian requests for economic and financial assistance as well as by Vice President Nixon’s visit to Bogotá in 1958 and Prime Minister Beltrán’s visit to Washington in 1960. For the most part, the relationship was cordial and noncontroversial.

In May 1958, as part of a general trip to Latin America, Vice President Nixon visited Peru. He presented President Prado with a letter from President Eisenhower in which the U.S. President expressed his admiration for Peru’s progress in consolidating democracy. (PE–5) Unfortunately, the Vice President’s visit did not go smoothly. Crowds of students prevented him from visiting San Marcos University, and he was pelted with stones. An unscheduled stop at the Catholic University proved more successful, but his talks with Peruvian leaders on the country’s economic difficulties resulted in no definite agreement for U.S. assistance. (PE–8, 9) In his analysis of the visit, Ambassador Achilles reported that a weak national government had hoped to strengthen its position by utilizing the Vice President’s stop at Lima but the seriousness of the anti-American demonstrations had shocked and embarrassed the government. The Ambassador noted further that anti-American sentiment and resentment of the United States were passions that existed just below the surface in Peru, and commented on the ease with which the small number of Peruvian Communists had been able to stage the demonstrations. (PE–10)

Peru’s quest for economic assistance, which had begun in the talks with the Vice President, continued in June with an application to the Export-Import Bank for loans (PE–12), but the shaky economic [Page 914] situation in the country was exacerbated in September when President Eisenhower informed President Prado that the United States was imposing quotas on lead and zinc imports, two of the leading Peruvian currency earners. (PE–15) Not surprisingly, this action caused strong resentment in Bogotá. (PE–16)

By the end of 1958, the situation in Peru had deteriorated further. During his visit to the United States in October, Peruvian Foreign Minister Barrenchea stressed his need to return to Bogotá with specific evidence of U.S. willingness to assist the country. (PE–18) While Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Roy Rubottom expressed his sympathy for Peru’s plight, he told the Foreign Minister that he could not give such a commitment, particularly in the form of credits. Peruvian requests for loans, however, were more successful. In 1959, despite an initial cold reception by the Development Loan Fund, Peru was granted a $4.5-million loan. (PE–23)

At the same time, Prime Minister Beltrán proposed a major series of steps to deal with the country’s economic and financial difficulties. The plan, which was discussed with Secretary of State Herter in August (PE–27), received a very sympathetic hearing in the United States. In 1960, the Prime Minister spent nearly a month in the United States lobbying on its behalf. He received an attentive hearing from President Eisenhower on June 9, although the President remarked with some asperity that U.S. assistance was not appreciated in Latin America. (PE–43) A further meeting with Under Secretary of State Dillon on June 21 garnered his support. (PE–43) By the end of 1960, largely because of the impression Beltrán created, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Export-Import Bank, and the DLF had granted loans to Peru totaling over $80 million. (PE–1, 45)