Mr. Cabrera to Mr. Blaine.
Washington, May 9, 1881. (Received May 9.)
Most Excellent Sir: In the month of February last I had the honor to have a verbal conference with Mr. Evarts, then Secretary of State, with regard to the urgent necessity of putting an end to the long and disastrous war between Peru, Bolivia, and Chili.
For the purpose of reaching some practical result, I proposed, after some preliminaries, the bases of a peace contained in my note of February 18th, and the two inclosures therewith transmitted.
His excellency, Mr. Evarts, although he considered the plan submitted to his consideration as possessing a high degree of importance, had not time to give it the necessary attention, owing to the change in the administration of the United States Government, as he had the kindness to state in his note of March 5.
I duly reported what had been done to the governments of Bolivia and Peru, calling their attention at the same time to the necessity of proposing those bases of a peace to Chili as their ultimatum.
Since that date the character of the war has not changed much, notwithstanding the occupation of Lima by the victorious forces of Chili. In the south and north of Peru resistance is still continued, and in Bolivia public spirit has been invigorated by the news of the occupation of Lima, all of which renders it probable that the war will be interminable.
This view is confirmed by a telegram which was published by the New York Herald in its issue of the 6th, in which it was stated that the King of Holland had authorized his representative to tender his (the King’s) good offices, in conjunction with France, England, and Italy, to the three belligerent nations for the restoration of peace.[Page 94]
I cannot believe, under these circumstances, that your excellency’s government, which during the course of this war has manifested so deep an interest in the restoration of peace among the nations of South America, will permit foreign powers to claim the merit of having restored peace, while the plan which I had the honor to propose is still pending before it. In presenting that plan my object was manifold, viz, to bring about an honorable peace; to strengthen and develop the wonderful productive power of North America by opening new and profitable markets to its commercial activity; to secure to your excellency’s government that influence in South America which rightfully belongs to it by reason of its proximity, its civilization, and the similarity of its institutions; and, finally, to satisfy the pecuniary demands of Chili, the conqueror of Lima.
In order to secure such great benefits to humanity, to whom war must ever be repugnant; to bring two continents of the New World into immediate contact by closely uniting them in the bonds of industry and commerce; and, finally, to secure even the rights of the conqueror (although they are improperly so called), what is it that the plan proposed by me asks of your excellency’s government?
Nothing but the fulfillment of an obligation, which is to be common to all the governments, viz, to guarantee that capital invested by citizens of the United States in the management and working of the guano and nitre deposits of Peru and Bolivia shall not be disturbed in its industrial application.
I take the liberty to submit these passing reflections to your excellency, that they may receive attention when you may see fit to consider my plan, and to secure a new title to glory to your government by restoring peace in South America, and by opening up new sources of wealth to North American labor and activity.
I purposely avoid presenting any further considerations, but I feel sure that the foregoing will not be disregarded by your excellency.
With sentiments of true respect and high esteem, I am your excellency’s obedient servant,