Mr. Christiancy to Mr. Blaine.
Lima, Peru, March 23, 1881. (Received April 16.)
Sir: I have honor to inform you that Señor Manuel M. Galvez, the secretary of foreign relations under the new government, set up or attempted to be set up for Peru, called to see me yesterday, and especially to inquire what attitude the United States would be likely to take upon the question of peace with Chili, &c.,
I explained to him fully that the position of our government had thus far been one of strict neutrality between the belligerents; that while [Page 888] our government was ready now, as always heretofore, to use her good offices by way of mediation or arbitration (to bring about a peace), with the consent of all the belligerents; yet that I had received no instructions which would indicate that she was willing to enter upon an active intervention against the will of Chili or the other belligerents; that, while I was satisfied that our government would regret to see a peace forced upon Peru, which would humiliate her and degrade her, and was desirous of a peace which should be honorable and beneficial to all parties—and therefore likely to be lasting—yet in view of the declared intention of the Chilian authorities not to admit the mediation or good offices of any other government in fixing the terms of peace, and in view of the traditional policy of our government not to intervene in the affairs of others, except with the consent of all the nations concerned, I could give him no assurance that she would now be willing to depart from that policy and intervene between Chili and Peru, against the will of, and therefore in a hostile attitude to, the former; but that I had kept my government informed and should follow any instructions I might receive. He then inquired what I thought of the policy of sending a special envoy to the United States. I frankly told him that I saw but one objection to this, and that this might be but temporary, viz, that as yet it did not sufficiently appear that this new government was the government of Peru, and that, until this should appear, the United States might not be willing to recognize it as such; that inasmuch as our government, with all the other governments represented here, had recognized the Government of Piérola, I should myself, in the absence of instructions to the contrary, be compelled to wait until it should appear by vote or acquiescence of the people of Peru that the majority approved or acquiesced in the new government, and that I was inclined to think my government would be likely to take the same view of the question; and that, as yet, I had seen no sufficient evidence of this approval or acquiescence; but that the very moment I should have such evidence I should recognize the new government without waiting instructions; and that all our government wished to know was what is the Government of Peru, when they would at once recognize it; but they could not make themselves parties in a contest between two governments, both claiming to be the Government of Peru, until the people of Peru had decided that question for themselves, &c.
I learn this morning (in a somewhat confidential manner) that this new government intends to send by the steamer of to-morrow, as envoy, or agent, to Washington, a Mr. José Manuel Cantuarias. So far as I can learn, he has the reputation of an honest man, of considerable ability. He has been consul of Peru to China, and has held, with credit, several offices under the Government of Peru.
I have, &c.,