to Mr. Evarts
La Paz , December 16, 1880. (Received February 5, 1881.)
Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a diplomatic circular addressed to the governments of South America by the minister of foreign relations of Bolivia, and which, in connection with his manifest, a copy of which has heretofore been transmitted, is intended to fully demonstrate the position of Bolivia in the present war, the unjust demands and cruel mode of warfare on the part of Chili, and seems to have in view an active intervention of the other South American states as against the encroachments on the part of Chili.
Much of what is contained in this circular is a repetition of former declarations, especially as to the policy of Chili, now openly acknowledged to be one of conquest, and which Mr. Carrillo thinks, if accepted in silence and without protest by the other governments of South America, would, after what has happened at Arica, place these in a position of virtually acknowledging it to be proper and right.
The principal reasons for invoking the intervention of the other States against Chili are its policy of conquest, contrary to American ideas, traditions, and interests; the cruel mode of prosecuting the war by destruction of private property and undefended towns; and, principally, the rejection of the proposed arbitration.
If the first should be accepted as the future policy of America, Mr. Carrillo explains, all the different republics would be obliged to keep large standing armies, which heretofore had never been necessary, and constant wars might be apprehended.
Chili had never pretended to claim any part of the territory now demanded as the price of peace; while even when the small Republic of Paraguay, after a long war, and completely at the mercy of its enemies—the powerful Empire of Brazil and the Argentine Confederation—it was [Page 82] especially declared that the victory did not give them title to disputed territory, but the decision on that point was left to the President of the United States as arbiter; and in accordance with it the Argentine Republic returned to Paraguay, territory to which it had claimed and believed to have rights, and Brazil kept only such as it fully was entitled to.
The coast district of Bolivia, small as it is, had given it an outlet to the Pacific Ocean, and its possession was never questioned until natural deposits of salitre and guano were discovered, and should it now be taken, its only outlet would be gone, and thereby its very existence and certainly the equilibrium of South America be threatened.
Passing to the second consideration, the various acts of devastation in the present war are enumerated and compared to the policy of England during our own war of 1812–’14, when Admiral Cochrane destroyed our undefended towns on the Atlantic and even the public buildings of our capital, for which action he had not only been denounced in his own country, but all over the civilized world, and which like action, in addition to what already has been done, is now threatened against Lima, the old and historical city of the Pacific, destruction of which has been authorized by Chili.
The third consideration, the rejection of arbitration by Chili, is especially commented upon, because a month before the conference at Arica it had entered into a treaty with the Republic of Colombia on the following terms:
Desiring to affirm the sentiments of international friendship which should be the foundation of peace and fraternity in America, they have, with this object in view, resolved to make a treaty and have signed the following articles:
- First. The two republics are forever obliged to submit to arbitration all controversies and difficulties of whatever nature may come up between both nations.
- Second. In case of failure to agree, the President of the United States of America is fully authorized as arbiter to carry out his functions as such.
- Third. Colombia and Chili shall try, at the first opportunity, to hold like conventions with the other American nations, so that the solution of all international conflicts by means of arbitration be a principle of American public right.
A month after this had been signed the very principle was disowned, one entirely contrary to its protestations proposed, and the very power which so solemnly had been designated as arbiter by Chili itself as solemnly rejected.
Mr. Carrillo, in summing up, refers also to the other conditions imposed upon the allies, which virtually deprive them of their sovereignty, as it prohibits them from entering into future treaties, besides declaring null and void a former one, and forbids Peru even to fortify its own ports in the future; thereby assuming such domination as no nation could submit to if not totally conquered. Mr. Carrillo, therefore, believes that the governments of the other republics, convinced of Chili’s bad faith, barbarous acts and intentions, its false position, lust of conquest and domination, will in their wisdom take such steps as will stop these ambitions, preserve the traditions of America, and define such a policy for the future which, in accord with the division of Spanish-America, and the definition of the limits of the different republics as agreed upon in 1810, will forever avoid further complications and conflicts; to which end he advises that an American congress should meet, deliberate upon all questions at issue, and establish such guarantees as will keep intact these limits, and in that way procure a lasting peace. On account of a severe illness, from which I still suffer, and having no assistance whatever, I have not been able to make a [Page 83] translation of the circular, but trust that the above summary may answer the purpose.
I have, &c.,