Mr. Christiancy to Mr. Blaine.
Lima, Peru, April 5, 1881. (Received April 26.)
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that the Chilian press established in Lima has for some two or three weeks apparently foreshadowed a design on the part of the Chilian authorities, and, probably, of the Chilian Government, to bring about a confederation, to consist of Chili, Bolivia, and at least that part of Peru between the Andes and the Pacific (being that portion of Peru accessible to the army of Chili by reason of her complete control of the sea), leaving that portion of Peru east of the western range of the Andes to join, if she can be induced to do so, and, if not, to form a separate government by itself, cut off from the coast, as it would be.
This idea may be thrown out and apparently advocated, merely in terrorem, to compel the Peruvians to accept the government of Garcia Calderon, and thereby secure a peace upon such terms as Chili may choose to dictate, or it may be with deliberate intention of forcing the compliance of that part of Peru west of the mountains.
Now, while I am well satisfied that a confederation of the three republics, if it could be brought about upon cordial and friendly terms—in other words, in accordance with the sympathies and prejudices of the people of the three republics—would be the best arrangement for all of them, and that, in such an event, Ecuador and Colombia, and, possibly, all the other republics of South America might be brought into the plan, forming a union on the plan of the United States of America, yet now I look upon this scheme (if it is seriously entertained by Chili) as utterly visionary, so far, at least, as it relates to Peru (and probably so as to Bolivia). Had Chili, after her victory at Tacna, or at the conference at Arica, made such a proposition it might possibly have been entertained, though I think the old quarrel between the Pizarros and the Almagros—the “men of Peru and the men of Chili”—has been transmitted by descent and become hereditary. It is also possible that, even after the Chilian victories at San Juan and Miraflores, such a union might have been formed (which I think, however, would not have been lasting) had the Chilians pursued a concilatory policy towards Peru, instead of pursuing, as they did, the most vindictive policy and the most humiliating course towards Peru, exciting a deep feeling of hatred and revenge in the minds of Peruvians generally, which will for a century prevent any cordial union. And now any union to which the Peruvians might be compelled for the time to consent would be felt by them to be—as it really would be—nothing more nor less than actual conquest under the flimsy disguise of “union or confederation.”
I have, &c.,