Obituary: Andres Aramburu Menchaca

Andres Avelino Aramburu Menchaca, lawyer, politician and diplomat: born Lima 8 December 1909; married Laura Yrigoyen (three sons, four daughters); died Lima 23 February 1994.

ANDRES Aramburu Menchaca combined a distinguished career as an international lawyer with varied political and diplomatic activities. As Peruvian ambassador in London during the Falklands conflict in 1982 he earned admiration and respect for what the Foreign Office regarded as his 'outspoken, objective and constructive' analyses of the situation. As Peru had made strenuous diplomatic efforts to avert a war, he was a focus of media attention in both London and Lima throughout the crisis.

His Anglophile credentials were impeccable: he was for many years a member of the Panel of Foreign Arbitrators of the Arbitration Court of London, and spent a good deal of time in England. He contributed a regular column about his impressions of life in London to the Lima daily El Comercio, later published as a book, Desde Londres ('From London', 1993).

He was, however, a thoroughly cosmopolitan man, who also served as director of the Alliance Francaise in Lima and he was much involved in other French cultural institutions in Peru. He was, in addition, a visiting professor of the Soviet Academy of Sciences and of the Polish Institute of International Relations in 1973.

Aramburu was a leading authority on the Law of the Sea and pioneer of the doctrine of 200 miles of territorial waters, adopted by Peru in the 1950s. But it was as an international commercial lawyer that he achieved the greatest prominence. He served as a judge of the Permanent Court of International Arbitration in The Hague and as a member of the Panel of Arbitrators and Conciliators of the World Bank's International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes. He was also twice elected president of the Hispano-Luso-American Institute of International Law.

Aramburu's political career in Peru was not crowned with quite such outstanding success. He never achieved his ultimate ambition of serving as foreign minister, but he became vice-president of the conservative Popular Christian Party (PPC), and was elected to the 1978- 79 Constituent Assembly, where he chaired the international relations committee.

He was an adviser to the foreign and navy ministries during the government of President Fernando Belaunde Terry of 1980-85, and held many directorships of Peruvian and foreign companies. Aramburu also ran one of the oldest family law firms in Lima, Estudio Aramburu Abogados, founded in 1868.

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