to Mr. Osborn.
Washington, June 13, 1881.
Sir: I have received from your colleague, Mr. Thomas O. Osborn, of Buenos Ayres, a confidential report concerning the praiseworthy efforts [Page 131] made by yourself and him to lessen the strain which exists between Chili and the Argentine Republic, touching the Patagonian boundary dispute, and to bring about the peaceful and final arbitrament of the question.
I need not at this late day, in the light of the long maintained and consistent attitude of the United States in favor of international arbitration as a means of averting unfriendliness or the deplorable horrors of warfare between nations, and especially nations of one blood and one history, express the gladness with which this government would do all in its power to aid in so fortunate a disposition of this dangerous issue. I am sure that the readiness of the United States to lend its good offices in this direction on any honorable and practical basis, is already so appreciated on both sides as to need no formal declaration. Chili, especially, must be aware of this general disposition in view of our attitude with respect to the projected arbitration with Colombia, and in view also of the earnest efforts of the President to subserve alike the interests of peace and the material welfare of both Chili and Peru, as seen in the peace conferences of Arica.
You should, however, lose no fitting opportunity of impressing this benevolent disposition on the mind of the Chilian Government without undue insistence or obtrusiveness. In doing so, you should take especial care to create a trusting conviction on its part that the United States, whether as counseling peaceful arbitration, or in the possible resort of being chosen as arbitrator, would approach the question with absolute impartiality, having no bias toward either phase of the contention, and no desire for aught save the ascertainment of the right and the manifestation of justice. You should also let it be distinctly seen that we do not seek the position of arbitrator, but that if the offer were made at the common instance of the parties, our sense of duty toward our sister republics of the distant South would forbid our declining it.
A somewhat similar instruction is this day written to Mr. Thomas O. Osborn at Buenos Ayres.
I shall await, with interest, your report of whatever may transpire in this relation.
I am, &c.,