to Mr. Evarts.
Buenos Ayres , July 31, 1879.
Sir: The “status quo” treaty, referred to in my No. 230, after a debate of eight days in the Argentine Senate, was rejected by a large majority.
Had the treaty been accepted by the Senate, doubtless it would have been overwhelmingly defeated in the House of Deputies.
If one may judge from the speeches made in the Senate against the treaty, it was rejected with no desire to cause a rupture between this country and Chili, but with the determination that the questions in dispute shall be now and finally settled.
After the rejection of the “status quo” treaty by the Senate, the President submitted the treaty of December last, known as the “Fierro-Sarratea” treaty, to Congress, and it was also rejected with but one vote in its favor.
Mr. Balmaceda, the Chilian minister, leaves Buenos Ayres August 1 for Chili, to become minister of foreign affairs. The secretary of the Chilian legation here remains as chargé, and it is understood that negotiations are to be kept open.
It is said that the Chilian minister will take with him new propositions for arbitration, submitted by the Argentine minister, Dr. Montes de Oca.
The Argentine iron-clads, the Andes and Plata, now in this harbor, are being put in good fighting trim by the removal of their wooden decks.
These preparations for battle may indicate, and it is quite possible, that the Argentine fleet, as soon as it is ready, will be ordered to the Strait of Magellan.
In the contest on the west coast the sympathy here is almost general in favor of Bolivia and Peru and against Chili, and the feeling is almost universal that Chili should accept the views of this government in reference to the boundary question, or that force should be used.
President Avellaneda is averse to a war with Chili; as I have it on very good authority that during the consideration of the “status quo” treaty by Congress he stated that he would resign as President before he would declare War against Chili. But, notwithstanding the adverse feelings of the President to anything like war, unless the Chilian Government accepts the proposal submitted by the Argentine minister, the Argentine Congress may adopt such extreme measures as will be equivalent to a declaration of war.
I have, &c.,