No. 102.
Mr. Kilpatrick to Mr. Blaine.

No. 8.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose copies of Señor Balmaceda’s note of the 8th instant, and my reply of same date.

In a previous communication I called your attention to the great disquiet caused by the tenor of General Hurlbut’s remarks when presented to Señor Garcia Calderon. This was soon largely increased by telegrams from persons in high position in Buenos Ayres, stating, in the most positive terms, my government had determined to prevent any annexation of Peruvian territory, and to oblige Chili to accept an indemnity in money or its equivalent. It was further added to by the general’s note to Señor Garcia Calderon, and by the reports of his general and private conversation, in which he apparently confirmed the position assumed to have been taken by my government; and, lastly, by the terms of his memorandum to Admiral Lynch.

In replying to Señor Balmaceda, I deemed the time had arrived for me, as far as my strength would permit, to take advantage of the authority given in my instructions, and to make clear to the Government of Chili the entire uniformity in the instructions to both legations, and to establish beyond a doubt that my government holds fast to the policy adopted at the commencement of the war. I have ample assurances that my note has given great satisfaction.

Regretting that the unfortunate state of my health will not, for the moment, allow a more exhaustive statement of affairs, and trusting my action will meet your approval,

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 8.]

Mr. Kilpatrick to Mr. Balmaceda.

Sir: I have the honor of acknowledging the receipt of your excellency’s note of this date, in which you call my attention to the fact that the daily papers of Valparaiso and of this capital have given publicity to a memorandum sent by my colleague in Lima, the honorable Mr. Hurlbut, to Rear-Admiral Lynch, commander of the Chilian forces in the capital of Peru. Your excellency is surprised at the publicity given to a confidential document of little importance, considering the form and circumstances under which the same was produced. Your excellency therefore considers it convenient to direct a note to this legation with the view of establishing the good faith and sincerity of the relations so happily cultivated by our respective governments.

Although, as your excellency is aware, I have been for some weeks past, and still am, seriously unwell, recognizing as I do the serious consequences, complications, and misunderstandings that might possibly arise, consequent from the unwise publicity of the memorandum of Mr. Hurlbut to Rear-Admiral Lynch, and the spirit thereof, at least so far as may be judged from the documents as published, the circumstances oblige me, despite the warnings of my medical advisers, to accede without delay to the wishes expressed by your excellency, and replying, although perhaps not in so definite a manner as, owing to the occasion, I should desire.

In the first place allow me to assure your excellency in most unequivocal manner the Government of Chili has no reason for disquietude, either as respects the intention or the attitude that my government may assume as to the war on the Pacific coast. [Page 139] The Government of the United States has not at any time interfered officiously in the public affairs of other countries, not even when its own interests have been compromised, and much less would it do so when the interests involved are those of friendly nations respecting whom there can be no motive inducing it to partiality.

I had read the memorandum of Mr. Hurlbut, as also the speech at his reception by President Garcia Calderon, both articles having been forwarded to me from Lima some time since, and I at once communicated with my government regarding the same. The first of said documents cannot be considered as having either official or diplomatic character, as the author himself says in the note of which your excellency has sent me a copy.

The instructions given me by my government are, undoubtedly, the same as those given Mr. Hurlbut, and it may be said in truth that they have none of the spirit predominating in the document to which your excellency alludes. The instructions of the Secretary of State, Hon. Mr. Blaine, contain nothing of doubtful meaning, he having such decided confidence in the intelligence, justice, and generosity of the Government of Chili that he authorized me to make them known to if is Excellency the President, or his ministers, should I at any time consider it convenient to communicate them.

In order that no room for doubt may exist in your excellency’s mind as to the position of my government in regard to the conditions of peace between Chili and Peru, and its determination to abstain from taking any part in the matter, I have no hesitation in subjoining a copy of a paragraph of said instructions which reads as follows:

“Since the suspension of the Arica conferences the war has ended in a complete success for Chili, and in what may be considered as little less than the conquest of Peru. This government cannot undertake to suppose that the offer of a friendly intervention in questions still pending would be agreeable to the Government of Chili. But I am sure the Government of Chili will appreciate the natural and profound interest taken by the United States in the ending of a situation so calamitous in its results to the best interests of the South American republics. The Government of Chili must also know that if at any time the interposition of the good offices of this government will contribute to the re-establishment of friendly relations, they (the United States) will promptly offer it whenever it manifests such wish.”

It is further added in these instructions that in all conversation with persons of your excellency’s government on this subject I am to observe established international law, and that under no condition whatever am I to offer unsought advice to the Government of Chili.

Again, in speaking of the provisional government of Señor Garcia Calderon, which the administration at Washington hoped to have seen established, my instructions are to encourage the same only to the extent that it may be done in a dignified and neutral way by a plenipotentiary, without officious interposition.

I think these extracts of the instructions given me by my government will be sufficient to convince your excellency that there exists no intention on the part of my government of interfering arbitrarily in the conflict existing on the Pacific coast, and that its acts and conduct are those of a friendly nation desirous of proceeding in the most delicate manner.

I trust, therefore, that your excellency’s government will continue its full confidence in the long and well-established policy of the United States, whose friendship has lasted so many years and has never been more sincere than at the present moment.

With the considerations of the highest regards and esteem,

I am, &c.,