No. 120.
Mr. Roberts to Mr. Bayard.

No. 113.]

Sir: I inclose extracts (translated) from two speeches delivered in the Chilian Senate on the 22d instant, to which I beg to call your special attention.

The subject under discussion was the annual appropriation for the department of exterior, and the speeches are important for two reasons: First, as an evidence of the desire of Chilian statesmen to act in concert with the United States on the question of bimetallism; next, as showing the existence of a new and better spirit towards our country.

* * * * * * *

I am informed on good authority that never since the formation of this Government have such friendly sentiments been uttered in Congress about the United States. I look forward with great confidence to their steady and permanent growth.

I may mention that Senator Concha i Toro is a very wealthy and influential man.

I have, etc.,

William R. Roberts.
[Inclosure in No. 113.—In the Senate (Chili), session 22d December, 1886.—In discussing the supply bill for 1887.—Translation.]

Senator Concha i Toro.

The remarks which I will have the honor to make took their rise in a rapid reading of the supply bill. It is timely to call at this moment the attention of the Senate and of the minister of foreign relations to a question which has occupied me these two years in this chamber. I wish to refer to a question which is debated to-day throughout the commercial world—the monetary question.

This question interests us very closely, because whatever may be its solution it will have a direct weight on the industry and commerce of Chili.

In the present state of civilization and of the world’s commercial relations, all countries are tributary to each other, and are consequently interested in the solution of this very interesting question.

Let us suppose that gold prevails. How will it be with the debtor? Ruination complete. On the other hand, if bimetallism prevails and silver strongly depreciates, [Page 154] if we are obliged to see our peso (dollar) reduced to 70 or 60 cents, it is easily seen what a resolution in the one or the other sense would profoundly affect our industries.

Already a nation has anticipated to put in execution a similar idea to the one I had the honor to propose to the Senate. I said then that it would be necessary to invite the other nations to join themselves to the United States, and let this great and important question be presented before them unitedly, not as separate and weak nations, but as a continent. Perhaps we would then also have some influence and procure for our interests a more favorable solution in the great monetary system.

There has been presented in the Congress of the United States a bill to that effect, and, though it is not yet approved, I hold it very necessary that the Chilian Government adhere to this idea and procure other South American countries to concur. The acceptance of the Chilian Government would be a great stimulant.

It undoubtedly is one of the most important points that can engage the attention of our foreign office.

Señor Freire, minister of foreign relations.

The remarks of the honorable senator for Santiago have been very interesting. The first being that the Government of Chili should treat of adhering to the action of the United States respecting the constitution of bimetallism as international money.

The Great Republic, as a silver producing country, has been occupied and is occupying herself with this important question, and Chili on her part finds herself in a similar situation.

The idea of the senator for Santiago is therefore very worthy of attention, and it seems to me that Chili should invite the other South American nations in order to facilitate the commercial action which finds itself to-day confronted with the single standard—that of gold.

Señor Ibanez.

Of the topics which the honorable senator for Santiago has treated on, the most important undoubtedly is that which refers to the money (coin) question. I remember at this moment that when I had the honor to represent Chili in the Great Republic of the North I noticed in all the great men of that country the good will towards the South American nations; and as it is the nation which there decides, in everything which refers to internal Government or external relations, the goodwill of the people is reflected in the councils of the Government.

The idea of adhering to the project of an American congress to convene at Washington at no distant date should be propagated and recommended by our foreign office to all South American Governments. I firmly believe if we place ourselves with the United States in the discussion of a universal money system, Europe will not take a resolution contrary to what would injure the interests of entire America; and let us remember that this question affects us very intimately. On it depends in a great part our future. Alone we are weak, out united we can be of serious thought to European nations.

On this question I should like to know the feeling of the entire cabinet. I know its good intentions, but I esteem the question so grave that there should be no vacillating in the councils of the Government.

The first point to which Señor Concha i Toro has referred is the convenience and still more the necessity for the Government of Chili to co-operate and assist with all its power in the realization of the idea, which for some time back has occupied the Government of the United States of America, to convene a congress essentially American, in which the all-important question relating to the circulating medium in the universal commercial transactions should be discussed. It is known that in Europe the question of bimetallism has occupied and is occupying to a large degree the great nations there, and it is also known that the solution of that question is destined to influence transcendentally the commerce of the American continent, and especially that of Chili, one of its principal products being silver.

Upon entering into this question with relation to a participation which the Government of Chili should take in it, it is necessary to state certain antecedents, and eliminate from debate certain preconceptions that might unfavorably influence the minds of public men called to direct the negotiations to bring this into effect.

As to the policy which at the beginning of the war on the Pacific appeared to develop itself in the Great Republic, a policy which was considered adverse to our interests, forming in us a public Opinion that we would not accept any indication from that Government tending to the holding of an American congress which should have for its object to decide the questions and difficulties that Wore inciting the several Republics of Spanish origin. But if this bias had its reason to be, under those circumstances, it has none at the present moment, in which we see the American policy unfolded in all its greatness, and in all those conditions which characterize the decisions of a great people, always founded in equity and justice, and the well intended interests of the American continent.

[Page 155]

One of the great obstacles that has always been in the way was that the Government of the United States took into account in its decisions the opinion, that Latin America was to be considered as still in an embryotic state, in which each of the Spanish American Republics figured isolated; that they had not the strength and prestige which alone only can produce order and regularity in their institutions, and above all, the united proceeding in the prosecution of a plan or purpose whatsoever.

Of this I can give testimony. At a recent period, when I had the honor to represent the Government of Chili near the Government of the United States, the very important question relating to the Island of Cuba was discussed, and the United States Government, in place of consulting regarding it the American Republics went to the courts of Europe to ask for a solution which could have been obtained more conveniently and more satisfactorily from the American Governments.

I remember for that reason to have remarked to the Secretary of State, Mr. Hamilton Fish, that perhaps for the first time they went contrary to the old legend of the Great Republic, which says “America for Americans.” Mr. Fish replied that undoubtedly they would have preferred to consult the Latin Republics, but it would have been without good result, considering the relative weakness of those states, produced by their disunion and internal convulsions that was always agitating them.

Very good. The remarks that Mr. Hamilton Fish then made, and to which I have referred, have no raison d’être at present, because the situation of these countries has changed completely in regard to their stability and regularity of their Governments.

The bias, on the other hand, which, at the beginning of the War on the Pacific (with Bolivia and Peru), appeared up to a certain point justified by the conduct of one of the noted men of the United States, has likewise no reason to be at present.

* * * * * * *

I can affirm in this respect that I have more confidence in the honest and generous policy of the American people than in that of many other countries.

Let us eliminate, then, these two factors, the unfounded preconception on the one and the erroneous appreciation on the other, and it is clear as day that we must place Ourselves at the head of a movement in which the interests of all are harmonized; and though small as may appear in these principles our influence, it will be great and powerful, if we secure the union of all the other Republics that axe placed in the same condition as ours.

In this manner the opinion of the Great Republic on the monetary question which now occupies us would be converted into the opinion of the whole continent, which, by its strength, would weigh enormously in the councils of European Governments, Which could not proceed without our contingent.

If, then, the Government of Chili, inspired by these ideas, which in my judgment are true and correct, gives to this point of its international policy the impulse and direction which its interests require, it will undoubtedly secure results so satisfactory as to be an honor to the ministry inspiring this policy as well as to the Government under which it serves and to that of the Republic in general.