to Mr. Evarts.
Buenos Ayres , May 3, 1879. (Received June 16.)
Sir: The war on the west coast, between Chili on the one side, and Bolivia and Peru on the other, appears to have produced a “change of front” by the party friends of the treaty, entered into between this government and Chili, in relation to the limits question in Patagonia.
The Congress of Chili approved of the treaty and the Chilian minister, Mr. Balmaceda, arrived here some two weeks ago, with instructions to proceed to carry out the agreements entered into by Chili so soon as the Argentine Congress shall have approved the treaty.
Dr. Montes de Oco, minister of foreign affairs, was appointed to represent the Argentine Government.
It is understood that the Chilian minister has had several interviews with the Argentine minister, and has already met the proposition from the latter to treat the question of limits outside of the treaty, which he declined to do.
The Argentine Congress convenes on Monday next; the treaty will doubtless be submitted, but there is little or no prospect that it will receive the approval of Congress at once, if at all.
This view may be taken of the matter, from the fact, that from the first, a strong party in Congress, led by the speaker of the house, has opposed the treaty; that its early friends seem to have almost at least abandoned it, and that so far as the war is concerned between Chili, and Bolivia and Peru, Argentine sympathy is very strongly in favor of the latter.
The popular feeling against Chili was shown by the demonstration made on the arrival of the Bolivian minister, Mr. Quijarro on Monday last. Thousands of the people assembled at the railroad station to receive and escort him to the hotel, where the Peruvian minister has his legation, from the balcony of which speeches were made, not only by the two ministers, but by leading Argentines.
It is reported that the Chilian minister has addressed a note to the [Page 21] government, asking satisfaction for the insulting cries against Chili at the manifestation.
Should the treaty break down in the Argentine Congress, it would so complicate matters between this country and Chili that war may result between them.
I am inclined to believe that the policy that will be adopted for the present by this government is the “do nothing policy,” so long at least as it is in doubt, if Chili is to win or lose in the struggle with Bolivia and Peru.
As Congress convenes so soon, it cannot be long before the policy adopted will become fully developed, and the country will know if it is to be peace or war with Chili.
I have, &c., &c.,