Mr. Kilpatrick to Mr. Blaine.
Santiago, Chili, August 15, 1881. (Received September 22.)
Sir: The considerations and instructions contained in your dispatch No. 2, dated June 15, 1881, relating to the course Chili should pursue in the final settlement of peace with Peru, have received my earnest attention.
You say in your dispatch that—
The Department will be exceedingly gratified if your influence as the representative of the United States shall be instrumental in inducing the Government of Chili to give its aid and support to the restoration of regular constitutional government in Peru, and to postpone the final settlement of all questions of territorial annexation to the diplomatic negotiations, which can then be resumed with the certainty of a just, friendly, and satisfactory conclusion.
If I understand you aright this is the full intent and purport of your dispatch.
Taking this for granted, I have the honor to report that, so far as the assurances of public men can be relied upon, your instructions have been complied with, your ideas of final terms of peace accepted, not only by the present administration at Santiago, but, still better, by Señor Santa Maria, the President elect, whose administration will have begun when you receive this note.
I beg your patient attention to the somewhat lengthy explanation I am compelled to make of my action in the matter.
As soon as I received your instructions I made inquiries to ascertain the real intention of the Government of Chili regarding peace with [Page 136] Peru. For a time I was completely misled; it seemed as if the government had no plan, but would leave the whole matter of final settlement to the incoming administration. In this I was mistaken, as were the public men of Chili with whom I conversed, outside the President and his cabinet. I discovered later on that the President was alarmed at the views you advanced, delicately brought to his attention, and in all probability would not be inclined to accept them. I at once became satisfied that the President and his cabinet held not only other views, but were contemplating absolute peace with the government of Señor Calderon. I therefore did not deem it wise to acquaint the secretary of state and the President with the full purport of your dispatch. I adopted what I thought to be a wiser course; I called upon Señor Louis Aldunate, the first friend of the President elect, a gentleman of great ability, who, I have reason to know, will occupy the first position in the cabinet of President-elect Santa Maria. I read him your dispatch, and at the same time informed him of my belief regarding the intention of President Pinto. After a full discussion of each separate point, and explanations of what I believed to be the result of misinformation on your part regarding “annexation of hostile territory” (to which I will refer again), your views were substantially accepted as wise and just. Señor Aldunate immediately acquainted President-elect Santa Maria with the contents of your note, and both have assured me—
That not one foot of Peruvian territory will be exacted by force unless all efforts of diplomatic negotiations shall fail, and that in no case can Chili treat finally with the government of Señor Calderon until it shall appear that his government is respected and obeyed throughout Peru, which does not obtain at this moment. That no doubt President Pinto would like to celebrate the last days of his administration by a proclamation of peace with Peru, with the government of Calderon, a government without a single element that constitutes a real government, and that would fall at once but for Chilian protection.
I was invited to attend Congress the following day, when the government would be interpolated regarding its plans and purposes. I went, found the House crowded with people, and, amid great excitement, heard the cabinet of President Pinto questioned and worried by Señor Lira, the first orator of Chili. I intended to send you translations of the speeches in this debate, but am too unwell to attempt it. I have been confined to my bed the greater portion of the time since my arrival in Chili. This debate developed the fact that President Pinto was contemplating peace with the government of Calderon—peace which, from the nature of the debate, I was satisfied, must of necessity include territorial annexation. Intimate friends of the administration not only confirmed this belief, but convinced me further that President Pinto was determined to accomplish his purpose; that he yet had time, and that the government of Calderon was in no condition to refuse any conditions Chili might impose. How to prevent this without giving offense to President Pinto I could not satisfactorily answer. I had gained the incoming administration; this was not sufficient. I determined finally to approach the administration, and change its purpose if possible. I sent for Señor Aldunate and Señor George Huneens, the solicitor for the government whose name you will find frequently mentioned in the paper relating to the Arica conference, and asked them to arrange for me a meeting with the secretary of state and secretary of war, the dominant members of the President’s cabinet.
After some delay this was agreed upon, and a conference was held at my house last night between Señor Valderrama, secretary of state, Señor Vergara, secretary of war, Aldunate, and Huneens. The conference [Page 137] lasted from 7 p.m. till one in the morning. I am too ill to give you a full account of the meeting; the result is all I can forward at this time.
Your dispatch was read and fully considered, and its advice and suggestions pressed upon the secretary of state. He finally replied. “The ideas indicated by Secretary Blaine are in direct conflict with those held by the Government of Chili, and if we abandon our policy it is out of respect for the opinion of the administration at Washington. You may therefore say to your government, that every effort would be given by Chili to strengthen the government of President Calderon, giving to it the most perfect freedom of action, considering the Chilian occupation. That no question of territorial annexation would be touched until a constitutional government could be established in Peru, acknowledged and respected by the people, with full powers to enter into diplomatic negotiations for peace. That no territory would be exacted unless Chili failed to secure ample and just indemnification in other and satisfactory ways, as also ample security for the future, and that in no case would Chili exact territory save when Chilian enterprise and Chilian capital had developed the deserts, and where to-day nine-tenths of the people were Chilians; and finally that Chili would never consent to submit her rights gained in battle to the arbitration of any European power.” This embraces, I think, all the important points contained in your dispatch; and, if so, then I trust I have fulfilled my instructions.
The character of the territory, its people, &c., that Chili may finally be compelled to demand, I will speak of in my next communication. One other matter and I have done. The secretary of state has just placed in my hands the following telegram, dated Lima, August 16:
Hurlbut, the United States minister, has notified Calderon that the United States will under no circumstances permit annexation of territory to Chili; he has also repeated this statement to outside parties. It is now the subject of conversation here, complicates and endangers our occupation.
Commandant in Chief.
If this be true, which I cannot believe, it will not only create bad feeling here in Chili, but compromise my action. Certainly it is not in conformity with my instructions, for you distinctly say “Peru and Bolivia should be allowed to offer such indemnity and guarantee before the annexation of territory, which is the right of conquest, is insisted upon.” Again, you say, “If these fail to offer what is a reasonable, sufficient indemnity and guarantee, then it becomes a fair subject of consideration whether such territory may not be exacted as the necessary price of peace.” In no way can the letter or spirit of your dispatch be tortured into saying “The United States will not permit in any case annexation of territory to Chili.” General Hurlbut has not sent me the Department cipher, or I would telegraph him, that he may know that he has been misunderstood or misinterpreted, and in time correct false impressions. If my mission is a delicate one his is still more so, for he has two governments deal with, the Chilian Government, under Lynch, and the provincial government of Calderon. I have done what I could to satisfy the secretary of state that there must be some mistake; that you would not send one class of instructions to me and another to our minister at Lima.
Very respectfully, &c.,