513. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Peru 1

253028. For Ambassador from Oliver. Reference: Prior Traffic on Recognition Doctrine.

“Pragmatic” is a term I never use in relationship to our foreign policy. It simply has too much lustre and anyway it is an incorrect reference to the philosophies of James, Royce, and Peirce.
ARA/LA had a good talk out with U, M and L, Wednesday2 forenoon. Naturally, the doctrinal point was not central. I very much doubt that the Peruvian situation, as it is beginning to shape up (IPC expropriation), will be the occasion for announcing any new recognition doctrine.3
But, and this is quite important: it was agreed that we can communicate with Junta on a wide range of matters, provided we assert that the act of communication is not “implied” recognition. This includes activities as to diplomatic protection and of warning about possible Sugar Act consequences of expropriation. Hereafter our suggestions and instructions on above and other matters will take this [Page 1065] evaluation into account. (What has been done, you see, is to free ourselves from tyranny of concept that a coup automatically cuts permissible communications during “suspension” down to those rather narrowly related to the resumption of relations.)
As we go forward, there is one thing we have to watch with great care: our public deprecation of coup has for various reasons been limited to working levels. (Personally I think it wiser not to advise public lamentations at very high levels, only to resume relations, as in 1962, within month. This is not to be taken as a time estimate this occasion.) But not having rended our garments and torn our hair in public heretofore, it would be bad in Latin America and here if we should go very suddenly (even though happenstantially) into great public outcry after IPC nationalization. Fortunately, IPC’s parent does not want us to. We shall not comment on IPC at press briefing Thursday unless asked; and if we are, response is a careful one that I drafted.4
I am sure you agree that CT and you have to keep an almost psycho-ward watch on Junta leaders. Balance between firmness and therapeutic permissiveness is very critical. As in the World War II story about national character (as told by the Spanish), we do not want to goad Peru into jumping out of airplane without a parachute! It is going to be hard, I very well know, to square what is professionally wise with wide public expectations based on this or that simplistic notion. But I still have faith that if we do it right and express ourselves adequately, results will not be adversely viewed by public here and elsewhere in Hemisphere.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 23–9 PERU. Confidential; Limdis. Drafted and approved by Oliver.
  2. October 9.
  3. On October 9 the Velasco regime issued a decree expropriating IPC property in Peru, including La Brea y Pariñas oil fields and the industrial complex at Talara.
  4. In the press briefing on Thursday, October 10, the Secretary fielded several questions, including a query into the expropriation of IPC holdings in Peru. Rusk admitted that “we were concerned and disappointed about the developments in Peru.” “We don’t know yet what this announced move against the IPC will involve,” he explained. “Presumably, the company will be the first to discover that and see what the issues are. But we shall be following that closely at the appropriate time.” (Department of State Bulletin, November 4, 1968, p. 481)