to Mr. Evarts.
Santiago, Chili, November 30, 1880. (Received January 21, 1881.)
Sir: On the 21st instant I received the following cablegram:
Washington, November 19.
Osborn, Minister, Santiago, Chili:
You are authorized to unite with your colleagues in pressing upon Chili the adoption of the measures agreed upon in a diplomatic conference at Lima for securing the lives and property of neutrals when Lima is attacked. This authority is to be used only in case these measures are approved by Christiancy and yourself as within neutral policy and this concurrent representation seems to you useful. You are also authorized to join in asking a direct answer from Chili, if in your judgment the requirement is justified by the situation. Telegraph your action.
A few brief interviews with my colleagues touching the details of the measures adopted at the Lima diplomatic conference, and the steps hitherto taken, having in view their acceptance by this government, served to impress me with the belief that any movement now by this legation in the direction indicated in your dispatch would be exceedingly impolitic, and this belief was strengthened to conviction by the informal conversation which I subsequently had with the minister of foreign relations, Mr. Valderrama.
As you know, the measures referred to provide for the protection of all private property, neutral and otherwise, in Lima, and determine the manner in which the Chilian army may bombard, occupy, and police the city. This programme was submitted to the consideration of the Chili cabinet early in October by the European representatives. In response, this government declared that it was its purpose to protect as far as possible the interests of neutrals in Lima, but maintained, in justification of a refusal to adopt unqualifiedly the measures proposed, that such action might tend to seriously embarrass the army in its legitimate operations. With this answer, it seems, the European governments were not satisfied; hence this renewed effort in the direction indicated.
I have had frequent conversations with Minister Valderrama concerning the protection of lives and property of neutrals in Lima in case that city should be attacked, and on the 24th instant, in an interview with him, I intimated a desire to know what measures had been adopted to that end. He was quite unreserved in his answer, asserting that it was the sincere desire of his government that neutral interests should be fully protected, but justified the refusal to adopt the measures proposed by my colleagues upon the ground heretofore stated; that is, that the army might thereby become seriously crippled in its proper operations against the enemy. He informed me, however, that, with a view of affording the protection desired, the general in command had been directed to confer with the dean of the diplomatic corps at Lima, and, in so far as the same could be done without interfering with the legitimate operations of the army, to adopt his suggestions to that end. An English translation of the note of Minister Valderrama, repeating the assurances given me in conversation, will be found inclosed.
In addition to what is said in the minister’s note, I may add that I have known for some time that the government was desirous of avoiding [Page 120] a scandal growing out of the operations at Lima, and that precautions were being taken to that end. The minister of war is with the army in the field, as is also Mr. Altamirano, the intendente of Valparaiso, who has gone north as secretary for the general-in-chief. These gentlemen are men of high standing, and I am assured that the chief reason for their attendance upon the army is the solicitude of the government upon this subject.
On the 26th instant I telegraphed you as follows:
Regard pressure of Lima measures useless and impolitic. Government adopts stringent measures for protection of neutrals in Lima, but rejects European pressure.
I am credibly informed that the Lima measures were not pressed upon this government by the European representatives with much earnestness; but, be that as it may, the response to their efforts was substantially the same as that received by me.
I have, &c.,