to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
Santiago, November 1, 1883. (Received December 5.)
Sir: Having received a communication from my colleague in Lima, informing me that a difference had arisen between Iglesias and the Chilian Government upon the inclusion of Tarata in the territory of Tacna and Arica, I thought it my duty to see the foreign minister, Señor Aldunate, who had just returned from his visit to Peru, and learn the precise status of the case. To my relief, this gentleman informed me that my colleague was wholly mistaken as to the facts; that a slight difference of opinion had arisen upon a question of construction, and that after being discussed with the Iglesias representatives for a couple of hours, Chili had receded and confined the boundary to the line originally proposed by me during my negotiation with Señor Calderon, viz, the Sama River. The parties are, therefore, in perfect accord.
My colleague lays great stress upon the third article of the treaty, which relates to the Peruvian foreign debt, and it seems to me he considers Department instruction No. 8 to him to bear the interpretation that our Government will withhold its countenance to the Iglesias treaty. I do not share that opinion, because of the manifest difficulty in which it would involve us.
- Firstly, Chili claims complete justification of the refusal to pay any part of the foreign debt, in the circumstance that an overwhelming majority of the holders of the debt accepted, through an agent with full powers, the settlement based on the sale of 1,000,000 tons of guano, receiving the pecuniary awards therefrom subsequently, and that therefore they are legally estopped from making any further claim.
- Secondly, as there is none of that debt held by American citizens, it is not a question directly affecting the United States, unless a general and recognized principle were involved.
* * * * * * *
Knowing, as I have known for some time past, and as I have constantly informed the Department, that the establishment of the Iglesias government upon the treaty signed with Chili was a wholly foregone conclusion, and that it would be quite impossible for our Government to take a position of hostility to it, I have recommended that our Government be the first to recognize, in order that we may reap the prestige, among all of the belligerents, of having thrown our influence in the promotion of peace.
With the fall of Arequipa the whole of Peru gives in its adhesion to Iglesias, and when the treaty is ratified by the Assembly, no Government can refuse to recognize which does not intend to hostilize it.[Page 122]
With our own Government, therefore, the recognition is but a question as to the most expedient time. My own opinion has been, and still is, that we should recognize in advance of any other Government.
I have, &c.,