No. 456.
Mr. Phelps to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 20.]

Sir: * * * Since the coming of Mr. Iglesias was an assured event I have occupied myself a good deal with the question of his recognition, anticipating that I might be called to express a definite opinion To-day I have given one adverse to the present recognition. To the present moment there has been no free action in the various cities and provinces on the part of Peruvians.

Where citizens, after the departure of Chilian troops, have driven out [Page 724] the officers put over them by Iglesias, the enemy returned to levy heavy fines and otherwise punish the people. Such was the case at Lambayeque, Chiclayo, and other places in the north. In other towns people have been given the choice of declaring for Iglesias or of paying a large fine. The declaration was made by signature to a body of resolutions in the general’s favor.

As yet Montero is determined to fight at Arequipa. The result of any success by him can hardly be foretold. Mr. Aldunate told me yesterday that he did not know whether Bolivian troops would help to defend Arequipa, and he was somewhat anxious.

At all events, while Montero has 6,000 men under arms and Caceres has a force, while Cuzco and other large towns are not in favor of Mr. Iglesias, and while we know so little of the true feeling in the interior, it would not seem to comport with dignity to recognize Iglesias.

It has been urged that our prestige is to be affected injuriously by tardiness. To my apprehension it would suffer greatly more by haste. The circumstances of the past years had as regards ourselves would seem to require greater care now.

Up to the present Mr. Iglesais has been wholly in Chilian control and protection. The enemy who supported him in the north is being withdrawn and massed in the south, to make war in that section upon armed men of the nation who are opposed to Iglesais. Is he, then, really President of Peru?

My sympathy is entirely with him, and it would please me to think differently of his position, as recognition by the United States would assist him. I do not doubt he will be successful, and I may be able to report favorably within very few days. Should Montero not fight, the effect would begreatly favorable to this Government.

I have, &c.,