Mr. Tassara to Mr. Seward.

The undersigned, minister plenipotentiary of her Catholic Majesty, regrets to have again to call the attention of the honorable Secretary of State to the affair [Page 603] of the Chilian agent, Mr. Vienña McKenna, in consequence of the affidavit which was presented on the 14th by the said McKenna to the district court at New York, of which the department has, without doubt, had notice.

In his note of the 7th, in remonstrating against the pretence of Mr. McKenna to diplomatic immunity, the undersigned proceeded on the supposition that said agent had no formal appointment from the government of Chili, as appeared to be deducible from the fact of his having first announced himself as minister and commissioner, and afterward as secretary of legation, and in specifying the legation to which he belonged.

With the affidavit Mr. McKenna has, notwithstanding, presented a document of the 22d November, signed by the minister of Chili, communicating to him the appointment his government had conferred upon him as secretary of the said legation of Chili in this country.

As to what regards the character of Mr. McKenna, in respect of the government of the United States, the undersigned has nothing to remark from the moment when the honorable Secretary of State has certified to the court that it appears from the archieves of the department that Mr. McKenna is not and never has been such secretary of the legation of Chili in this country, and when the court gave its decision according to that certificate.

But in what regards, notwithstanding, the government and legation of Chili, not only can they not repudiate the character they have conferred on Mr. McKenna, but as little can they throw off the responsibility to which they are committed by his acts.

This being so, the undersigned has only to let Mr. McKenna speak in his cited affidavit.

After referring to his appointment by the Secretary of State of Chili to come to this country in the character of such secretary of the Chilian legation at Washington, and of confidential agent of that government to imbue the public opinion of this country with the justness of the cause of Chili, &e., Mr. McKenna continues by saying:

“Immediately after arrival in this country, the declarant had an interview with the minister from Chili, and very soon gave several lectures and speeches in this city, (New York,) for the purpose of presenting the war of Chili under its true aspect of honor, patriotism, and justice, against the atrocity of the attack on the part of Spain; that these demonstrations were made to thousands of citizens of New York, at the Cooper Institute, and various other places in said city; that with the same purpose he issued many publications in pamphlet form, and brought out a paper in the Spanish language under the title of Voice of America, of which several numbers have been issued. The declarant was in Washington, in the month of January last, for some days, and during that time resided in the house of the minister from Chili, as a member of his family. While the declarant was there, Mr. Seward, Secretary of State, was absent from the country, and Mr. Hunter, who was Secretary ad interim, was invited to dine with the minister from Chili, who presented the declarant to Mr. Hunter as secretary of the Chilian legation; and the declarant was also presented as such to the President of the United States at a public reception, and on other occasions to Lieutenant General Grant, to Major General Sherman, and various other high official personages.

“The declarant says, moreover, that he has in his possession a document in Spanish, all in the handwriting of the minister from Chili.”

The undersigned does not pretend to prove more than what is proven in these paragraphs, to wit: That he came to this country in the character of such secretary of legation of Chili; that, arriving at New York the 19th of November, on the 22d his appointment was communicated to him by the minister of Chili; that as such secretary he has labored, and been considered since as of that legation, and that responsibility for his acts is the responsibility of that legation and [Page 604] of its government. As for the nature of these acts, the honorable Secretary will determine whether those set forth in the affidavit are not already in themselves such as cannot be done without the violation of neutrality.

Even in regard to the publication of the Voice of America, of which Mr. McKenna announces himself to be editor, the official relations of the legation of Chili with its secretary are so manifest that in No. 3, of the 11th February, of which copy is annexed, is published an official note addressed by the minister of Chili to your Department of State, and which he says was obtained from the legation. Said note, which, excluding every other consideration, is contrary to the treaty existing between Spain and the United States, and even has tendencies towards enlistment in this country, has been without doubt replied to in suitable terms.

Trusting in the loyal neutrality which the United States are maintaining, the undersigned restricts himself to presenting these facts to the consideration of the government, availing himself of the occasion to reiterate to the honorable Secretary of State the assurances of his very high consideration.


Hon. William H. Seward, &c., &c., &c.


Meantime we permit ourselves to call the attention of the minister of the Spanish navy to the following noticeable document which we have obtained from the legation of Chili at Washington:

The Spanish government having given instructions to its cruisers to treat as pirates the Chilian cruisers whose crews do not consist in the greater part of Chilians, the government of the undersigned solemnly protests against these arbitrary prescriptions, and is resolved, in case they be carried into effect, to avenge them by the severest reprisals. The government of Chili will protect, by all means possible, as well the officers as the crew and equipment of the cruisers and public vessels of Chili, even though they be foreigners, who, while they remain in service, enjoy all the rights and privileges of Chilian citizens.

F. S. ASTA BURUAGA, Chargé d’Affaires of Chili.