to Mr. Evarts
La Paz , December 3, 1880. (Received January 21, 1881.)
Sir: Since the publication in pamphlet form of the protocols of the Arica conferences, one of which, with the report of the Bolivian plenipotentiaries, I had the honor to transmit in my dispatch No. 46, another document relating to the same subject has been issued by the department of foreign affairs, a copy of which is herewith inclosed, in which Mr. Carrillo recites all the steps taken by him in regard to the mediation, and finally closes by offering his resignation on account of its failure. The manifest, as it is called, is quite lengthy, and as all the points are well known to you from my former dispatches, and the annexed correspondence with the memoranda of official interviews have all been transmitted by me, a complete translation seems unnecessary.
Mr. Carrillo begins by saying that as soon as the mediation had been offered he had, full of hopes of a successful issue, communicated these to the National Congress, which had approved of the policy to be pursued; and now, inasmuch as it had failed, he felt himself obliged to show to the country the reasons whereupon his hopes and policy were based. He then gives in detail the history of our correspondence from its commencement of our two interviews, and lays particular stress upon the idea advanced by me that if the representatives of the three republics could not agree, it seemed to me advisable that the settlement should be left to arbitration; at any rate that the different plenipotentiaries ought to have full power to accept arbitration if mediation failed, especially as this had been offered, not as a compliment, but actually with a view to end the conflict. He then proceeds to give his correspondence with his minister in Lima; refers to the offered mediation of the European powers, and states his reasons why the latter could not be accepted. He then briefly mentions that the expedition to and destruction of private property at Chimbote had nearly frustrated all hopes of the conferences taking place, but that finally, all obstacles being removed, the actual meeting seemed to hold out a hope of a successful issue.
Passing to the conferences, she ascribes the failure of the mediation to the determined and not-to-be-modified proposition of Chili to annex the Bolivian and Peruvian coast provinces by right of conquest simply, and leaves it to America and the world to judge whether this demand of Chili and the acknowledgement of being conquered by Peru and Bolivia would be consistent with the honor of the latter and with American interests at large.
He then calls attention to the curious history of this mediation, which was first accepted by Chili in August last, then even its existence denied by its cabinet, then again officially accepted on October 7, although my correspondence, as well as the fact that the day for the conference was fixed by Mr. Christiancy and Mr. Osborn for the 5th of October, borne out by the further fact that the Chilian admiral actually permitted the Peruvian vessel with the plenipotentiaries on board to leave Callao on the 1st of the same month, would demonstrate that the second acceptance was an act hardly in accordance with the honor of an American nation. Then, speaking of the attitude of the American ministers and the course pursued by us, he continues:
The spirit of conciliation consistent with the good offices of a mediating power has never entered into the designs of Chili. Arbitration proposed with full acknowledgment of the advantages gained in the war was hotly rejected. All discussion, all agreement was impossible. The mediation, the diplomatic action of the allied governments, [Page 80] and the universal wish for the return of peace, I repeat, were doomed by the determined attitude of the representatives of Chili.
In such extreme emergency what action would have been most consistent with the dignity of the most excellent ministers of the United States and the high prestige of its government?
With perfect right and in accordance with the first step in the mediation they might have proposed acceptable bases, or they might have approved the propositions of the plenipotentiaries of the allies, if they considered these just and proper. They might have advised, and even honored with their decided approval, the acceptance of arbitration, which, considered in the Bolivian ministry as the essential basis of mediation and frankly authorized by the representative of the United States was the only possible solution since the beginning of the negotiations. This, and much more, and on a greater scale, corresponded with the noble and fervent desires with which the most excellent Government of the United States proposed to aid in the restoration of peace.
But this important step, which might have been taken by the representatives of the United States, preceded those haughty and determined declarations as well as the protest that under no considerations would these be changed; and they, convinced also that the sentiment of Chili was for war at any price, preferred to reserve their diplomatic action in order to avoid a sure rejection of their proposition and the grave consequences which might have followed such action. Without instructions towards such extreme eventuality they were obliged to limit their action to bringing the unexpected and unsuccessful conclusion of the offered mediation to the knowledge of their government. So by this step, prudent as well as of great foresight, they have preserved the prestige of the government of the Great Republic and the respect due its policy of conciliation.
Mr. Carrillo then gives it as his opinion that the Government of Chili at first was prepared to offer moderate conditions, but that under the influence of public clamor it had abandoned the path of justice, and thereby, perhaps, endangered its political future, and he concludes by offering, as stated above, his resignation because the policy advocated by him before the Congress and the country had failed.
It may not be out of place, nor uninteresting to add, that so far this resignation has not been accepted, nor is it likely to be, as the press and people, as far as heard from, are united in declaring the action of Señor Carrillo to have been upright and statesmanlike, and President Campero last night informed me that, unless public sentiment in the interior should be different, Mr. Carrillo would certainly remain at the head of affairs.
At the same time I was also informed that Mr. Baptista, the other plenipotentiary at Arica, and Mr. Aramayo, the secretary, had been appointed minister and secretary of legation at Buenos Ayres, so that it seems that instead of being considered a failure, the Bolivian diplomats engaged in the negotiations are rewarded, their action and position are fully approved, and the result is considered an advantage, because it is hoped by some that the so openly exposed policy of conquest on the part of Chili, coupled with the rejection of arbitration, may induce our government to intervene; while, on the other hand, there is no doubt that it will compel the Government of the Argentine Republic, which also has its frontier disputes with Chili, to demand guarantees for its own security, in which case it is expected here that war between those two powers will be unavoidable.
I have, &c.,