Mr. Dichman to Mr. Evarts.
Bogotá, December 20, 1880. (Received February 21, 1881.)
Sir: The return of President Nuñez from the coast was officially notified to his fellow-citizens by means of a proclamation, a copy and translation of which you will please to find inclosed.
In this proclamation President Nuñez recites the benefits which have been secured for Colombia by him during his absence from the national capital. The settlement of the dispute with Costa Rica, the calling of a meeting of Spanish-American plenipotentiaries at Panama, the obtaining of a loan in the United States and the maintenance of peace are the facts, with an account of which the first half of the document is occupied, while the latter half is devoted to an outline of the future policy of his administration, dwelling with much emphasis upon the necessity for the utmost economy in the expenditure of the public funds. * * *
From the measures which have already been taken in the last four days, it would seem as though the promises of President Nuñez were intended to be complied with. * * * Decrees have already been issued to reduce the army from 5,000 to 3,500 men (it could stand a greater reduction); to declare vacant all paid diplomatic and consular appointments on the first of July next; * * * to provide for the reduction in the cash payment of all salaries and pensions to a minimum, the balance to be paid in depreciated treasury scrip; and to establish a national bank with a capital of $1,000,000, which is to commence operations on the 1st of January next. What part this bank is to perform in the regeneration of the country is as yet shrouded in mystery, for as a question of financial policy the establishment of a national bank is perhaps a mistake.
It is gratifying to be able to report to you, however, that with the return of President Nuñez public confidence has been measurably restored, that the country is at peace, and that the only threatening element for the future is in the selection of the candidate for the next presidential term. Perhaps President Nuñez would like to be his own successor, [Page 343] but as that is prohibited by the Colombian constitution the influence of the national bank may be fully developed when the reform of that instrument comes up for discussion during the next session of the Colombian Congress.
I am, &c.,