No. 48.
Mr. Shannon to Mr. Fish.

No. 137.]

Sir: At different periods during the past two years the question of a war between the Argentine Republic and the empire of Brazil has been warmly discussed by the press of both countries, and at times it seemed that open hostilities could not be much longer delayed.

Fears for the disturbance of peace were first seriously entertained in the beginning of last year, when the Brazilian treaties were negotiated with Paraguay by Baron Cotegipe, provoking the celebrated Tejedor note, which this government deemed so offensive to its dignity that explanations regarding it became an indispensable preliminary step in the negotiation of the Mitre-São Vicente agreement of November, 1872. These fears were again excited in the course of General Mitre’s efforts, during the present year, to negotiate Argentine treaties with Paraguay.

And, finally, they were again stimulated more recently by reports of the object of the secret session of the Argentine congress, now being held in Buenos Ayres.

It having been reported here, among other things, that the attitude of the congress and the tone of its discussions were anything but friendly toward Brazil, and, furthermore, that one of the principal objects of the session was to pave the way for the formation of an alliance among all the South American republics against the empire, this government deemed the matter of such grave importance as to instruct Baron Araguaya, [Page 72] their accredited envoy at Buenos Ayres, to request information from that government respecting the truth of those reports.

A copy of the note of the Argentine minister of foreign affairs, in reply to Baron Araguaya’s application, is herewith appended, together with a marginal translation. From the terms of this note it would appear that the Argentine Confederation is at the present moment animated by the most pacific of dispositions. I think this country is not less so; and, from the very nature of its political organization, as well as the peculiar social condition of the people, the empire must always stand on the defensive.

I am, &c.,


Señor Tejedor to Baron de Araguaya.

M. Minister: I had the honor to receive your note of the 31st ultimo, relating to certain rumors of war growing out of the present secret sessions of congress.

Like the imperial government, the present Argentine government considers peace as one of the greatest benefits that can fall to the lot of these regions; and your excellency may rest assured that never will a provocation to war come from the republic, nor will she enter into any treaty alliance having that for its object.

Moreover, so long as the republic is united to the empire by the bonds of that alliance which overthrew the invading power of Paraguay, this government will hold as of equal weight with those general sentiments the duty of loyalty toward Brazil, which of itself alone ought to be a sufficient guarantee to the empire that nothing will be allowed to impair those good and pacific relations now so happily existing. If we have not yet succeeded in coming to an understanding with Paraguay on the question of a boundary treaty, your excellency knows there is in this circumstance little reason for any fears of a disturbance of peace, disposed as the Argentine government is to limit itself to the execution of the remainder of the agreement of November 19th, leaving to time and future events the final acknowledgment of its fights.

I seize the opportunity, &c.,


To His Excellency Baron de Araguaya,
E. E. and M. P. of H. I. M. the Emperor of Brazil.