603. Telegram 4312 From the Embassy in Peru to the Department of State1 2

[Page 1]

For Assistant Secretary Meyer from Siracusa


  • 3 State 94400


  • Call on President Velasco

1. I was with President Velasco for about 40 minutes. He kept me waiting 35 minutes. I understand the Finance Minister preceded me. At first he was cautious and reserved but warmed up after some small talk about his family and grandchildren. Finally, although we did get into touchy subjects, he was quite cordial to me. We mutually pledged dedication to solving the problems between our two countries and he invited me to call on him whenever I felt talking to him would be useful. Bearing in mind suggestions in reftel, I did not bring up subjects of seizures of fisheries and IPC. However, the conversation seemed naturally to flow into them, as reported below.

2. When I gave him your basic message on agreement, he was pleased. I recalled his conversation with Ambassador Jones on this subject and the concerns expressed at that time. I said that while details had not yet been concluded you wanted to reassure him of our desire to continue relations with Peru at the Ambassadorial level soon. I told him delays in nominations for such high-level positions were not uncommon and illustrated with the present case of our representation in Mexico.

3. Fisheries conference: Velasco told me that Fon Min Mercado [Page 2] had advised him late Friday night of my proposal as outlined in aide-memoire then presented (Lima’s 4226). I told him that Mercado sent word to me yesterday to expect his detailed comments upon his return from Buenos Aires (Lima 4302) but wondered whether I could report anything as to the President’s attitude. I said this would be of great interest to my govt. I then shoved President a copy of the aide-memoire which I had in my pocket. He read it and said that so long as the Pelly (sic) Amendment is lifted Peru would have no problem going to a conference. He then spoke at some length about such things as Pelly Amendments in most uncomplimentary fashion. He said it was a good thing the other “Pelly” Amendment had not been passed or Peru would have had to “apply an amendment of its own.” He agreed I could report agreement “in principal” to a conference once the “Amendment is lifted,” and depending, of course, on agreement with Ecuador and Chile. He said, however that we should await Mercado’s return to work out details such as exact method of announcement, etc. Velasco has a tendency any time he talks about subjects such as this one to become tense, somewhat emotional and very prideful. He laces his conversations with observations as to sovereignty, dignity and the right of a country such as Peru to be respected. Altogether, I was encouraged by his reaction which seemed quite consistent with that demonstrated to me by the Fon Min in last Friday. Deustua and Berckemeyer, however, seem somewhat out of step.

4. IPC case: When we got into this one, the President had some trouble maintaining his composure. He spoke again about respect for sovereignty as well as [garble] friendship between the US and Peru. He complained bitterly that the Hickenlooper Amendment is already applied, except for sugar and that the US had “paralyzed” Peru’s economy. He said we had caused great difficulties for his govt but it would solve all its problems. He could not understand, however, why we should do such a thing to a country like Peru which only wants to be friendly to the US. He spoke of the presence of other American companies here and said he was behind Minister Artola in guaranteeing every form of welcome and protection to American companies. [Page 3] As for Ambassador Irwin, he said Peru would be happy always to welcome him. However, he had not been invited to return because the Peruvian team had reported he would only come on condition Peru agreed to pay compensation. He said Peru could never accept “conditions” about anything. I told him I thought there may have been some misinterpretation of Ambassador Irwin’s final presentations. I said his suggestions and illustrations given then had been intended to show possible ways to a practical solution. I said each side had fully explained its point of view and that a practical solution which might take many forms was what was now needed. I said Ambassador Irwin is ready to come and the United States Govt ready to send him anytime GOP believes talks could lead to a practical solution. The President listened but I fear was not convinced. I believe he has firmly in mind, as result of report of Peruvian team, that Ambassador Irwin’s illustrations were “conditions.” At any rate, MT has now realized that US objective is compensation and is apparently as determined as ever that [garble] be paid. Therefore, why talk further?

In response to President’s charges that we were strangling Peru with premature application of Hickenlooper Amendment I told him that natural uncertainty is what is causing reticence on part of creditors, investors, etc. rather than any overt act by USG. I suggested this would disappear once uncertainty was cleared up by a solution to our problems.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 792, Country Files, Latin America, Peru, Vol. 1, Through June 1970. Confidential; Immediate; Limdis. A stamped notation on the telegram indicates that it was received at the WHCA at 2027Z on June 11. In telegram 94400 to Lima, June 10, Rogers instructed Siracusa to inform Velasco that the United States would lift its FMS suspension if the CEP governments would announce they would attend a conference on fisheries. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 15 PERU)
  2. This telegram transmitted a message from Siracusa, in which he recounted a 40 minute meeting with President Velasco. During this discussion, the two spoke about the fisheries dispute and the impasse over the IPC case.