Mr. Seward to Señor Garcia.

The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a note which bears date on the 14th instant, from Mr. J. A. Garcia y Garcia, minister plenipotentiary of the republic of Peru near this government.

In that note Mr. Garcia expresses an opinion that the war which four allied republics of the Pacific coast heretofore declared against Spain has at last assumed a character of imperfect peace.

In support of this position, Mr. Garcia observes that active hostilities between the belligerents ceased on the 2d of May, 1866, and they have not been renewed since that day. Mr. Garcia further states that it is publicly known that in January last the belligerent governments of Chili and Spain, through their diplomatic agents in London, jointly asked permission of her Majesty’s government to remove beyond British jurisdiction armed vessels for the military service of both. Mr. Garcia further mentions that it is also reliably known that Lord Stanley, after mature deliberation, and having consulted with the Crown attorneys, granted the petition of those ministers, notwithstanding a protest was presented by the Peruvian minister, who did not deem it his duty to assent to an arrangement for which he had no authority.

Upon these grounds Mr. Garcia, in the name of Peru, one of the belligerent republics, asks that the government of the United States will now feel itself at liberty to make a declaration to the effect that a state of war is no longer recognized as existing between the republics of Peru, Chili, Ecuador, and Bolivia on the one part, and Spain on the other.

The undersigned has the honor to reply that the government of the United States has no official or authentic information of the proceedings to which Mr. Garcia refers as having taken place at London. This government is, on the other hand, well advised that Spain continues to [Page 899] assert in a collateral correspondence with the United States of Colombia the continued existence of a state of war between herself and the heretofore allied belligerent republics. So far as is known to this government, no transaction has recently occurred within the United States by which occasion has been given to this government to make an authoritative declaration upon the question which Mr. Garcia now submits, namely, whether the state of war between the belligerents ought to be deemed as still continuing, or whether by the intermission of mutual hostilities it is to be deemed as having come to an end. Any declaration which this government might make, under present circumstances, upon that question would be unnecessary and gratuitous, and it might ultimately prove to have been prematurely and erroneously made. The United States, constantly desirous of the establishment of perfect peace and friendly relations between the belligerents, can entertain no question presented by one belligerent without giving a hearing upon the same question to the other belligerent parties. For this reason the undersigned will think it proper to furnish a copy of this note to the Spanish government, and also to the governments of Ecuador and Chili.

The undersigned avails himself of the occasion to offer to Mr. Garcia a renewed assurance of his high consideration.


Señor Don José Antonio Garcia y Garcia , &c., &c., &c.