to Mr. Evarts.
Buenos Ayres, December 12, 1878. (Received January 28, 1879.)
Sir: By request of the minister of foreign affairs I called at 3 p.m. on the 9th instant at the foreign office, when he showed me a dispatch just received from the Argentine consul-general at Santiago, Chili, stating that all the questions pending between Chili and the Argentine Republic had been arranged upon the basis of Article 39 of the Treaty of Amity of 1856.
This arrangement puts the parties in statu quo for 18 months. A provisional jurisdiction has been established, by which no rights are conferred on the Argentine Republic on the coast of the South Atlantic Ocean, and by which none are conceded to the Republic of Chili in the Strait of Magellan.
In the mean time all the questions pending are to be submitted to two persons selected by these respective governments as arbitrators, and at the expiration of the 18 months, if they cannot agree upon the settlement of all questions submitted, “an umpire” is to be named.
This arrangement seems to be perfectly satisfactory to the Argentine authorities, and they hope by this arrangement and agreement to obtain all they claim as a result without a war with Chili, which this government and that of Chili doubtless are not prepared for.
For this amicable arrangement and agreement between the two republics very much credit is due to Mr. Lowe, a citizen of the United States and editor of the Buenos Ayres Herald, and our minister, Mr. Thomas A. Osborn, at Santiago. When it became known here that the [Page 15] American bark Devonshire had been seized by the Chilian authorities, at the suggestion and request of the ex-minister to Chili, and now president of the house of the Argentine Congress, and of other leading men of this country, Mr. Lowe proceeded to Santiago, carrying with him dispatches from this legation to our minister, Mr. Osborn, informing Mm of the seizure of the Devonshire, and furnishing him with a copy of the protest of the owner of the cargo.
On the 4th instant Mr. Lowe returned to Buenos Ay res, and informed me that on his arrival at Santiago he found that the Chilian authorities had resolved not to release the Devonshire or her cargo, but to hold them subject to the decision of the Chilian courts.
In the first interview with the Chilian minister for foreign affairs and Mr. Osborn, Mr. Lowe stated that he had arrived at Santiago as the representative of no government or party, and with no instructions from any one; that he was simply a citizen of the United States; but as editor-in-chief of the Buenos Ayres Herald he was in such a position as to know and understand well the disposition of the Argentine Government, and the Argentine people in relation to the seizure by Chili of a vessel of a friendly power in Patagonian waters claimed by her, and that the release of the Devonshire and her cargo, without conditions, was indispensable to a friendly settlement of the question of limits between Chili and this republic.
This conference took place at 2 p.m. on the 12th of November, and at 4 p.m. the same day the Chilian authorities resolved to deliver the Devonshire unconditionally to our minister, Mr. Osborn, of all the details of which he doubtless has informed you. This cleared the way, and gave rise to fresh efforts toward a friendly settlement, the result of which is as noted above.
I have, &c.,