Mr. Cabrera to Mr. Evarts
Washington , February 18, 1881. (Received February 19.)
Sir: In reference to the subject which I had the honor to broach to your excellency, in the name of my government, on the 3d instant—the conference which you were pleased to accord to me, at my request, having then remained pending—I take pleasure in laying before your excellency’s government the latest intelligence that I have received from the [Page 91] Pacific touching the war subsequently to the occupation of Lima by the Chilian army.
According to this intelligence the government of Peru had retired to the departments of the south. Mr. Pierola, the president, having declared that the seat of government is where the executive is, Mr. Aurelio Garcia y Garcia had been appointed secretary-general.
The government of Peru, on taking its departure for the department of Arequipa, was firmly purposed to continue the war to the utmost extremity. This information is contained in a telegram which has been received by Mr. Ramon I. Garcia, chargé d’affaires of Peru near your excellency’s government.
General Baquedano, moreover, who is in command of the Chilian forces which have occupied Lima, had addressed an official communication to the municipal government of the capital of Peru, apprising it of the necessity of forming a board composed of the principal citizens, that it might designate a provisional government with which an armistice might be concluded or some other arrangement made. The municipal government had replied that, inasmuch as President Pierola’s government was still existing and had received its powers from the nation, no municipal government or board of principal citizens could arrogate to itself the right to appoint another government.
General Baquedano had likewise addressed a communication to the supreme court of Peru, requesting it to re-enter upon the discharge of its functions, but the court had replied declining to do so.
As to Bolivia, it is known that her army was to march against Tacna under the command of General Campero, the president of the republic, and in concert with a portion of the army of Arequipa, on the 15th of last month.
It was also known that she had received a supply of arms, and expected to receive more, through a reliable channel.
All this shows that the occupation of Lima has not ended the war, and that, so far from this being the case, the governments of Peru and Bolivia will continue it with greater activity than ever.
Nevertheless, some solution must be sought that will put an end to the present state of things, and I firmly believe that, an earnest desire existing to secure an honorable peace, and one that will meet all present as well as all future requirements of the belligerent nations, some combination acceptable to all parties is not impossible.
To this effect I beg leave to offer the plan contained in the documents numbered 1 and 2, and herewith inclosed, to the consideration of your excellency’s government.
This plan, if carried out, would, in my judgment, meet all the difficulties that have given rise to the war, they being simply the wealth of Peru and Bolivia.
It would systematize the working and management of that wealth in the interest of universal commerce; in the interest of the markets which purchase guano and saltpeter; in the interest of the owners of the territory containing these valuable substances, and in the interest of modern civilization, which loves peace and detests war.
In a political point of view it would prescribe the right of conquest; and as regards the stability of the South American nations, it would firmly establish the uti possidetis principle, which is the foundation of their nationality and independence.
Moreover, with regard to the manner in which the guano and saltpeter deposits of Peru and Bolivia have hitherto been worked by European [Page 92] capital, long years of experience have shown that there is need of a new element, capable of giving renewed vigor and a different form to the industry and commerce of those republics.
With the most respectful and cordial sentiments, I am, &c.,