No. 526.
Mr. Christiancy to Mr. Evarts.

No. 240.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose to you the copy of a letter of October 5, 1880, written by Mr. Valderrama, secretary of foreign relations, of Chili, to the French minister at Santiago, in reference to the protection of neutral property in the contemplated expedition upon Lima and Callao; also a translation of the same.

Also a copy and translation of a letter of Mr. Pinto (minister of Salvador), the dean of the diplomatic corps in Lima, to the general-in-chief of the Chilian forces, dated December 28th last.

Also a letter of General Baquedano, in reply to last above, dated December 30, 1880.

Also a letter of January 1, 1881, from Mr. Pinto, the dean of our diplomatic corps, to General Baquedano, in reply to his last above, with translation.

Also a copy of a letter of General Baquedano in reply to the last above, dated January 6, 1881, with a translation.

Also a copy of a letter from General Baquedano to the dean of the diplomatic corps, dated Chorillos, 15th January, at 11 p.m., with translation.

No. 4/240 (above) embodies the principles which I had the honor to submit to the diplomatic corps, on the day of its date, in the shape of a simple declaration of principles adopted by the corps, and stated in a slightly different form in the letter.

I have included all the above that you may have a full view of the correspondence in reference to the transactions alluded to; but the most important of all, in reference to the numerous claims likely to be presented against Chili by American, Swiss, and Colombian citizens, [Page 864] is the above No. 1/240. This was written to the French minister in Chili, in answer to a letter of his, in behalf of all neutrals here 5 and the answer No. 1/240 applies equally to all It was sent by the French minister in Chili to his colleague here and presented to and read before our diplomatic corps, as it was no doubt intended to be.

It will be seen it adopts the very plan of protecting neutral property which had been already adopted by us, and this plan we continued, not only in Lima, but in Chorillos, Miraflores, and everywhere else in Peru; and we trusted and believed that this plan would prove effectual, and that the neutral property, having the placards with the certificates and flag referred to, would be respected by the Chilian forces; at least, that such property would not be deliberately taken or destroyed without military necessity. Of course we did not expect such protection against the risks of battle, or those naturally incident to the taking of a town by bombardment or storm, while any resistance was kept up in such town. But, even in such cases, we did think we had a right to rely upon the promise of the Chilian Government, that such property should not be deliberately taken or destroyed, after all resistance and all fighting had ceased, and especially one, two, or three days after, when all necessity for its taking or destruction had ceased.

Now, it clearly appears from the official report of General Baquedano, that all fighting, even in Chorillos, had ceased, and that his victory then was complete at 2 o’clock p.m. of the 13th of January (see extract from that report, here inclosed, and referred to in the margin). And yet that “the towns of Chorillos and Barranco, as a consequence of their resistance, were destroyed and burned.” Now, the fact, as I am informed from all quarters, is, that there was no fighting at Barranco (a village intermediate between Chorillos and Miraflores), and that no fire of any importance occurred until about 5 or 6 o’clock p.m. in Chorillos; that at about the hour last mentioned, the most densely built part of the town was deliberately set on fire by the soldiery, and every living inhabitant in the town—of whom there were many who had remained—having been killed, most of them were piled up in the houses and burned with them. But a large portion of the best houses in the town, many of them owned by neutrals (some American, some Swiss, and, I think, some Colombian, among the rest), were deliberately burned the next day, and some of them two days after, after having been robbed of their furniture (most of it of the most costly kind), which was sent on board the Chilian fleet, before the torches or hand-grenades were applied to the houses; and these very houses had upon them the flags and placards agreed upon with the Chilian Government.

And when I state what I am on all hands informed, is the fact, though I do not personally know it, that the house sometimes occupied by the minister of Brazil and that of the Brazilian consulate, were spared (a fact which shows the alliance between Brazil and Chili, explaining the reason why the Argentine Republic had been kept quiet during this war), and that a guard was sent to protect the house some times occupied by the French minister, who had a friend upon the Chilian general’s staff, it will be hard to resist the conviction that the burning of the rest of the town was deliberate, and after all necessity for such destruction had ceased.

As to Barranco, where there had been no fighting, the British minister, who went out with our dean and the French minister to see General Baquedano, on the morning of the 15th (two days after the first battle and before the second) informed me that as he passed Barranco the Chilian soldiers were engaged in deliberately burning the town.

[Page 865]

The same thing, as I am informed and believe, took place at Miraflores, inhabited largely by neutrals, among whom were several American and Swiss, who had the proper flags and placards up. A part of the town was burned the night after the battle of the afternoon of the 15th; but some of the best buildings one and two days after.

Now, it is precisely upon this ground that the robbery and destruction were deliberately committed, after all necessity or excuse for such acts had ceased, that many claims have already been filed by American and Swiss citizens in this legation. These claims I have not yet forwarded to Mr. Osborn in Chili, believing it best, first to submit, as I now do to you, the substantial facts upon which all of them must rest, and to take your instructions whether to send them first to your Department, or to Mr. Osborn.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 240.—Translation.]

Señor Valderrama to the French minister to Chili.

Sir: After the conference which I had the honor to hold with your excellency yesterday, and during which your excellency signified to me the warm interest which you feel that the Government of Chili should adopt efficacious measures to guard the persons and interests of neutrals in the event that the proposed expedition of the Chilian forces on Lima should be realized, I have been commissioned by his excellency the President, to address a special note to the general-in-chief of the army of operations, in order to satisfy, as far as possible, the wishes expressed by your excellency. In fulfillment of it, I address this day a note to the general-in-chief, in which I bring to his knowledge:

That the government wishes that neutral persons and their interests be carefully respected during the military operations against Lima and Callao.
That in order to make such” respect practicable, to hear the indications which the honorable dean of the diplomatic corps may make, and to attend all those which without embarrassing in any way the action of our forces may tend to guarantee neutral persons and their property.
I also tell him that your excellency has indicated to me, in order to have neutral persons and their interests easily certified to, the former will hold a certificate of the legation of which he is a citizen or subject, and the latter will have, besides the flag of its nation, a placard, authorized by the seal and signature of the legation, fixed in a visible place on the property.

The government feels confident that the general-in-chief will take special care in harmonizing the important interests of neutrals, with those corresponding to Chili, as belligerent.

I improve this opportunity to reiterate to your excellency the sentiments of high and distinguished consideration with which I am, &c.,

[Inclosure 2 in No. 240.—Translation.]

Señor Pinto to General Baquedano.

Mr. General-in-Chief: The diplomatic corps accredited in Lima, anxious about the perils to which the important and valuble interests confided to their care may be subjected, on account of the struggle which soon is to take place at the doors of the city, has agreed that the undersigned, as the dean of the corps, would place himself in immediate communication with your excellency, thus following also the indication from the cabinet of Santiago, with the object of providing in common accord the means which may be adopted to diminish, as much as possible, the risks and perils to which the foreign colonies may be exposed.

[Page 866]

The attention of neutral governments has, for some time back, been directed to the disentanglement of the present war, and to the possible eventualities which, in all cases, may affect the conditions of its numerous citizens, and whose interests can be reckoned at hundreds of millions.

With this motive, for the legitimate purpose of securing due protection to such valuable interests, the governments which have legations established in Santiago prescribed to those legations in advance to make such efforts with the Government of Chili as may tend better to reach that end, and the security of our compatriots without embarrassing the military action of the belligerents.

In accord with those precautions our colleagues at Santiago, after an understanding with the Government of Chili, which gave its best attention to those observations have solicited our indications as to the measures which, according to our judgment, would be more efficacious for the object proposed. In consequence we have drawn and forwarded to them the annexed scheme, a copy of which we inclose, which has met the express and implicit approbation of all our governments.

The cabinet of Santiago, supposing that, perhaps, in certain cases, military operations would prevent the complete application of the measures proposed, has preferred not to bind itself with, but to adopt definitely only a part of the project referred to, promising, as to the other part of the same project, to send orders to the commander-in-chief of the expedition with the view that said commander will have an understanding with the diplomatic corps, represented by its dean, in relation to those measures which circumstances will permit to adopt for their most ample fulfillment.

I am now placed under the circumstances to propose to your excellency the commencement of those relations of reciprocal intelligence, which place us in a relation for me to fulfill the duties of my position under the present circumstances, and on the part of your excellency to accomplish the orders of your government, being both able to concur, through our agreement, to attenuate and lessen the horrors inherent to the war, and recognizing, in that manner, the age of civilization which we now enjoy.

As far as it concerns us, we have endeavored that all foreigners be provided with a certificate showing their nationality, allowing them to fix, in a visible place on their domicile or house of commerce, a placard with their national colors, authorized by their respective legations or consulate general. This placard and the national flag which most of them will hoist will be sufficient proof. Besides, we have established certain private localities, which will be recognized by special signs and held by persons duly authorized by us, which will be the deposits of goods of our respective citizens, and asylums for their families, when these should feel themselves in better security there. In order that your excellency may have a better judgment of this I annex to the present a plan of Lima, in which the legations, the asylums and deposits of goods, and foreign houses of commerce, are shown, upon which we wish to call the attention and care of your excellency by reason of their special nationality. Your excellency will find also, in the same plan,” the houses of every one of the members of the American congress of jurists in Lima, whose existence in Lima is well known by the cabinet of Santiago, and whose title and duties are evidently worthy of special consideration.

As to the indications which we think it our duty to make to your excellency, they could evidently not differ from the programme already proposed to the Government of Chili, and which, as before stated, has received the approval of our governments. For the rest, we have always understood that the measures which your excellency will adopt, will be according to the legitimate exigencies of the war and the security of the army under your command.

Among those measures, there is one, above all, which the diplomatic corps allows itself to recommend specially to the consideration of your excellency. It is that in relation to the entry of the troops, in the case that by consequence of events, the city of Lima should capitulate or cease to be defended. In such case, in fact, the entry in mass, of numerous troops, without necessity, would occasion great inconvenience. For that reason, besides consulting the way to obviate inconveniences, we think there would be positive advantages, in the successive entries of the troops, and that such entry should be made only by a number sufficient to guarantee its occupation.

This is a measure we have no doubt has already occurred to your excellency, as others proper for the occasion, which will tend to avoid unnecessary evils, to humanize the war, and to reduce its destructive action to the limits prescribed by the rights of nations and Christian civilization, under which guard modern nations are ennobled and dignified.

As to the rest, promoting this communication for mutual intelligence, I think that I have only anticipated your excellency’s ideas in the same sense, since through them we prevent as much as possible the horrors of the war, and avoid prejudice to the neutrals resident in these countries, and perhaps their unnecessary ruin—which might give room to grave complications—and at the same time avoid the criticism, more or less severe, on the countries engaged in the struggle by other nations of the world which are contemplating them.

[Page 867]

I improve this occasion, Mr. General-in-Chief, to offer to your excellency the assurance of my high consideration.

J. de T. PINTO.
[Inclosure 3 in No. 240.—Translation.]

General Baquedano to Señor Pinto.

I had the honor to receive the note dated 28th instant, in which your excellency, as the dean of the diplomatic corps, resident in Lima, has been pleased to address me, with the view to establish correspondence between us, in order to avoid as much as possible the damages which may be suffered by neutrals in their persons and property by the operations which the army under my command may realize in defeating the army defending that capital.

It is very satisfactory to me to say to your excellency, in answer to the note above mentioned, that it is with pleasure I initiate those relations, and that should your excellency wish, either to communicate with me personally or by written letters, you will always rind me disposed to receive with kindness all those suggestions which tend to lessen as far as possible the wrongs and evils of the war.

I will do, in that light, all in my power, if the army of the enemy do not make of the city of Lima the base of its defense.

But, if the contrary takes place, and I should be obliged to take it by assault, your excellency will understand that it could not be possible for me, either to give a term before commencing hostilities against that capital, or limit the consequences of that combat and the occupation by main force, as your excellency and myself wish it. In that case the city will forcibly be subdued to the rules of war and suffer all its rigorous consequences.

Wishing that the relations initiated by this note may efficaciously tend to the humane views which have influenced your excellency in addressing your excellency’s note to me, I improve this grateful opportunity to offer to your excellency the assurance of my highest consideration.

[Inclosure 4 in No. 240.—Translation.]

Señor Pinto to General Baquedano.

Mr. General-in-Chief: I had the honor to receive the answer your excellency has been pleased to give to my letter of the 28th December last, the contents of which were immediately placed before the diplomatic corps for their knowledge.

My colleagues accept with pleasure the assurances which your excellency has transmitted. They could not but conceive doubts on your excellency’s answer referring to the principal part of my note, that part which refers to the entrance of troops into Lima. This part involves great importance in the opinion of our governments, expressly approved by many of them, and we must, therefore, insist again and solicit of your excellency to let us know in a precise manner if your intention is, as we understand it, to let but a limited number of selected force enter the city in the particular case that it should not be taken by storm.

It must have come to the knowledge of your excellency the rumors given by the press of Chili relative to the sacking of Lima, notwithstanding that we understand this is not the idea of the Government of Chili, proper only to past ages, we cannot leave aside and must take into consideration that the suggestions thrown to the public might have raised in the minds of soldiers tendencies against which special precautions are necessary.

We are placed now under the necessity to point them out to your excellency, not doubting, however, that you are willing to adopt them in order to prevent unnecessary wrongs, and cover your responsibility before your own country and the opinion of the world.

We do not deny that, in the event of the city of Lima being taken by main force, it would be impossible to limit the entrance of troops, nor for the city to avoid undergoing [Page 868] all the rigorous eventualities of the war. Nevertheless, we cannot, and we ought not, to reckon among those eventualities the plunder of this city. Your excellency knows well that the laws of war, as they are now accepted by Christian civilization, condemn the plundering of private property, as also attacking defenseless and non-combatant persons, even in the case of a city being taken by assault. Our ideas agree generally on that point, and your excellency will readily understand that it could not be possible for us to remain indifferent at witnessing scenes condemned by the unanimous opinion of the countries we represent.

The diplomatic corps is grateful to your excellency for the frank deference with which your excellency accepted the relations it initiated, and hope they will not prove fruitless towards the noble purpose of humanizing the war, saving, as much as possible, large neutral interests not involved in it, and the reputation before universal public opinion of the people who sustain it.

Having thus fulfilled the commission received from my colleagues, it remains for me to renew to your excellency the assurance of my high consideration.

[Inclosure 5 in No. 240.—Translation.]

General Baquedano to Señor Pinto.

No. 423.]

Mr. Minister: I have this moment received your excellency’s note, dated the 1st instant, in which your excellency asks if, in the event that the city of Lima opposes no resistance against the force of my command, I will occupy it only with a select force? In the contrary case, which is that of resistance, your excellency and honorable colleagues, of the diplomatic corps condemn plunder, and wish to have security that my troops will not perform such acts.

In answer to that letter my duty is merely to declare to your excellency that the purpose of my government and my own is clearly stipulated in my note of December 30 last.

Your excellency may understand that the passionate declarations of the press of both belligerent countries cannot be the subject of official discussion. Consequently your excellency will allow me not to refer to the suggestion I found in the note of your excellency as to the instigation of plunder which your excellency has thought to have found in the press of my country.

As to the rest, your excellency may rest assured that my firm intention is to humanize the war and prevent unnecessary wrongs to undefended inhabitants in accord with the progress of the civilization of this century.

But to this only my promise must be limited, because the future means which I may adopt will depend upon circumstances which I cannot foresee nor your excellency stipulate, because they will necessarily correspond with the attitude the army of the enemy may assume.

I improve this opportunity to reiterate to your excellency the assurance of the high consideration with which I subscribe myself your excellency’s obedient servant.

[Inclosure 6 in No. 240.—Translation.]

General Baquedano to Señor Pinto.

Mr. Dean: Your excellency knows that in consequence of the initiative voluntarily taken by the honorable diplomatic corps to cease hostilities against that city I have not carried into effect this morning the attack prepared against the forces of the Peruvian army defending Miraflores.

Your excellency knows, and the honorable ministers of France and England also know, that I, during the conference which we had to-day, refused to prolong the term asked from me in order to interpose their good offices near the Government of Peru with the same pacific view; but that at last yielding to the repeated entreaties of your excellency and of your honorable colleagues, and as a proof of special deference to neutrals, I consented to wait for the answer which your excellency was to give to me until midnight of this day.

Well, the army of the enemy, whose chiefs were to know the arrangements made by [Page 869] the honorable diplomatic corps and to have received proper orders, opened fire to-day at 2.20 p.m. upon the undersigned, his chief of the general staff and aids who reconnoitered the field to see the situation of our troops.

This treachery of the enemy obliges me to hasten the operations under my care, and, in consequence, I address myself to your excellency craving to communicate to your honorable colleagues the resolution I made to bombard to-morrow, if I think it opportune, the city of Lima, until I obtain its unconditional surrender.

With sentiments of distinguished consideration, I subscribe myself, your obedient servant,

[Inclosure 7 in No. 240.—Translation La Actualidad, Lima, February 4, 1881.]

Extract from General Baquedano’s report to his government, dated January 16, 1881.

* * * At nine our victory was complete in Chorillos and on the fortified hills extending to the south; but about 8,000 men which remained there still continued to resist. With these forces a second battle took place. It was necessary to drive them out from each one of the streets and houses of the town and from the heights, which they held. This obstinate combat lasted until 2 o’clock p.m., at which hour the battle was over, with a victory which gave us possession of the enemy’s entire line and of the towns of Chorillos and Barranco, which as a consequence of their resistance were burned and destroyed.