Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Phelps.
Washington , July 26, 1883.
Sir: The study which you have made of the correspondence between this Department and the legations of the United States in Ghili, Peru, and Bolivia renders unnecessary a detailed statement of the protracted negotiations seeking to establish peace between those Republics.
The general policy of the United States in regard to the conflict between these states is set forth in instructions No. 2, of December 1, 1881, to Mr. Trescot; No. 2, of March 18, 1882, and No. 41, of March 23, 1883, to Mr. Logan, and No. 5, of June 26, 1882, to Mr. Partridge, and also in the message of the President to Congress, transmitted to that body in December last.
The representatives of this Government, as you have seen from these instructions, were directed harmoniously to join in a courteous and friendly effort to aid the belligerent powers in reaching an agreement for peace, which, while securing to Chili the legitimate results of success, should at the same time not be unduly severe upon Peru and Bolivia.
Mr. Logan, who was accredited to Chili, has for some nine months energetically sought for a satisfactory basis of settlement, but thus far without that success which it was hoped before this time might have been attained. Nevertheless it is believed that his efforts have aided in bringing the parties nearer to an agreement.
Mr. Logan was instructed in my No. 41, of March 23, 1883, that he should suggest the following bases for a treaty of peace to the Chilian Government, viz: The cession to Chili of the Peruvian territory of Tara-pacá, and the submission to impartial arbitration of the question whether any additional territory should be ceded, and, if so, how much and on what terms. When this instruction reached Santiago another phase of this question had presented itself in the substantial agreement by Chili with General Iglesias, who had been put forward as the representative of Peru. The full text of this agreement has not been received at the Department, but it is understood that in substance it concedes to Chili the province of Tarapacá, with the occupation for ten years of the province of Tacna and Arica, at the end of which time a plebiscite is to be taken to decide to which of the parties the provinces shall thenceforward belong, the successful power to pay to the other the sum of ten millions of dollars. The other provisions, as to guano and the Peruvian debt, are not yet definitely known.
It will be seen that these terms are more severe upon Peru than those which Chili had before been willing to accord. It was after Señor Calderon declined the terms of settlement offered by Chili through Mr. Logan’s meditation that Chili turned to General Iglesias, and, through a representative sent by him, submitted the terms of settlement hereinbefore stated, and which terms have by this time received the signature of General Iglesias.
It is not the province of this Government to adjudge who is or who is not dejure the representative of the executive or sovereign power of any nation. International intercourse imposes upon it often the necessity of recognizing some one as at least de facto such representative.
Upon the flight of Piérola the Government of Señor Calderon was recognized by the United States as the de facto Government of Peru, [Page 710] springing up necessarily from the state of affairs then existing, and having apparently the support of the majority of the citizens of Peru. Soon after its recognition Señor Calderon was transported to Chili as a prisoner, and since that time has not been in the territory of his native country. Señor Montero, meantime the vice-president, has at various points in the country, and now for some time at Arequipa, represented in Peru the authority of that Government of which he is the second in rank.
It is now claimed that the Government of Calderon-Montero has lost the attributes of a de facto government, and it is urged that, not having the support of the people, it is no longer entitled to recognition. The information furnished this Department on the subject, however, is most conflicting, and is naturally colored by the sentiments of the different observers. On the one hand it is said that General Iglesias is supported by fully five-sixths of the population of Peru, that the provinces of the north and center are solidly united in his aid and in approval of his plan of settlement, while on the other hand we are told that Calderon was never so strong as at present, that his own moral influence and the physical force of his followers are impregnable in Arequipa, and that a large majority of his countrymen support and approve his course. It is evident that no peace can be made unless Peru is represented in its negotiation by some one having the support of his fellow-countrymen and whose action will meet with their approval.
In Señor Calderon this Government understood that it recognized such a ruler. As at present advised, it would not hastily withdraw or transfer that recognition. Should the facts be as alleged by the friends of General Iglesias, this Government will not, by adhering to the recognition of Señor Calderon, impede the advance toward an amicable adjustment of the difficulty.
Your first and most delicate duty, therefore, will be, by rendering yourself familiar with the condition, politics, and affairs of Peru, and consulting, if practicable, with your colleagues the ministers to Chili and, Bolivia, to report fully to this Department whom it is wise and proper that this Government, having in view the peace and prosperity of the three contending Republics, should recognize as the Executive representative of the sovereignty of Peru.
The confidence which this Department places in your discretion and good judgment and that of your colleagues will render your report on this delicate question influential with this Government in its determination; and should the opinion of the ministers to Chili, Peru, and Bolivia be in harmony, such opinion would be well-nigh conclusive.
As soon as you reach a decision satisfactory to yourself you will report the result without delay to this Government, using, if necessary, the telegraph freely for this purpose; and if in your judgment it becomes important, you may, without in any manner committing yourself as to your final conclusions, report by telegraph the progress of your investigations and their indications.
While greater stress has been given in the instructions of this Department to the relations of Peru and Chili, it must not be assumed that the rights and wishes of Bolivia, a sovereign power and a party to the contest, with rights equal to the other contestants, are to be neglected. It is not supposed that any agreement will be made, nor in fact can any agreement be reached, which shall not receive the assent of that power in all that concerns its interests. As this Government has recognized the equal sovereignty of the three Republics, and will not depart from that position, of course any agreement, so far as it affects the rights of Bolivia, must receive the consent of that power.[Page 711]
Until Chili and Peru had reached a point where a fair prospect-of agreement was seen it seemed unnecessary to negotiate at La Paz, particularly as Señor Calderon, it was properly assumed, would not act against the interests of his ally. For these reasons the tentative discussions were carried on at Santiago.
I simply add that it is not for this Government to dictate to sovereign belligerent powers the terms of peace to be accepted by them, nor is it the right or duty of the United States in the premises to do more than to aid by their unprejudiced counsels, their friendly mediation, and their moral support the obtainment of peace—the much-desired end. If such an end can be reached in a manner satisfactory to all parties more speedily through negotiations with Peruvian authority other than that heretofore recognized by this Government as the de facto ruler of Peru, this Government will not, through any spirit of pride or pique, stand in the way of the hoped-for result.
I am, &c.,