Mr. Egan to Mr. Blaine.

No. 164.]

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my numbers 157, of April 27, and 160, of the 4th instant, in reference to the offer and acceptance of the good offices of the United States, Brazil, and France for the restoration of the internal peace of Chile, and now beg to report as follows:

On receiving your authority, oh April 27, to act as mediator with the Brazilian minister and French chargé d’affaires I at once placed myself in accord with those gentlemen, and, as stated in my No. 160, our offer good offices was very cordially accepted by the Government on the [Page 124] one side and by the committee of the opposition or revolutionary party on the other.

In connection with an effort made by the ministers of Great Britain and Germany to open negotiations, the admiral of the British squadron conveyed from the leaders of the naval and military forces in the north plenary powers to a committee of eight gentlemen in Santiago to act in behalf of the opposition. Of the gentlemen thus named one, Mr. Alejandro Vial, had already sailed for Europe. My colleagues and I secured from the Government a safe-conduct for five others, Messieurs Melchior Concha i Toro, Eulojio Altamirano, Carlos Walker Martinez, Gregorio Donoso, and Pedro Montt; Mr. Belisario Prats did not need a safe-conduct, and Mr. Eduardo Matte acted without one. I inclose a copy of the acceptance of good offices by the Government and concession of safe-conduct, dated May 2 (inclosure No. 1).

The seven gentlemen composing the committee of the opposition met in conference in this legation on Sunday the 3d instant, and by formal document, a copy of which I inclose (inclosure 2), accepted the tendered good offices of the United States, Brazil, and France.

After a number of conferences, from the 3d to the 5th instant, all of which were held in this legation, the committee agreed upon and submitted to us the bases upon which they would be willing to consent to an arrangement; but they imposed the condition that we were not to communicate those bases to the Government until we had first received from the Government, in writing, a statement of its conditions. I inclose a copy of those bases, dated May 5 (inclosure 3).

Early in the day of the 6th the minister of Brazil, the chargé d’affaires of France, and I went to the Moneda and found that the minister of foreign relations, Mr. Bicardo Cruzat, was sick and not able to come to his office. In his absence we were requested by His Excellency the President to confer with the minister of interior, Mr. Domingo Godoy. Accordingly, we had a conference with that gentleman, in the course of Which we were informed that the Government, while prepared to listen to and consider in the most benevolent manner any propositions that might come from the opposition through us, should absolutely decline to submit any conditions before having before it the opposition bases. In order to consult with the members of the opposition committee, with a view to finding a way out of this difficulty, we adjourned the interview to 5 o’clock same evening. On my colleagues and I returning at that hour to the Moneda we found that list a few minutes before, while Mr. Godoy, four others of the ministers, the president of the Senate, and other gentlemen were returning to the Moneda from a meeting of the Senate, two dynamite bombs had been thrown at them by two young men on horseback, and that one of the bombs had exploded with terrific force a short distance from the ministers, but fortunately without doing any damage.

On entering the Moneda and meeting Mr. Godoy, we felicitated him upon his fortunate escape and that of his colleagues, and at his invitation we continued the negotiations of the morning. In consequence of what had just taken place, Mr. Godoy was considerably exasperated against the opposition, and, because we were not prepared to come directly to the point with regard to the presentation of the opposition bases before receiving the conditions of the Government, he declared the negotiations broken off, and, becoming excited, he added that from that very moment the safe-conduct should be considered canceled, and that we might not be surprised if some of the parties were shot in the public square before morning, as he considered them responsible [Page 125] for the attempt that had been made against his life. We reminded him that the safe-conduct was a solemn compact between his Government and those which we represented; that one of its conditions was that we, the mediators, should fix the time when it should cease to be in force; and we urged him to consider well the nature of the responsibility which he was assuming, the more especially as the gentlemen named in the safe-con duct were entirely above suspicion of even the most remote knowledge, of the foul attempt at assassination which had just occurred. As he continued obdurate, we requested to be allowed to confer with the President; but Mr. Godoy refused, saying at the same time that he spoke with full authority for the President and all of the ministers.

We all three protested in clear and forcible terms, and left. We then took immediate steps to place the delegates of the opposition in safety, and within an hour we had conducted all of them within the legations.

At 7 o’clock the same evening the intendente or governor of the city called upon my colleagues and upon me, and informed us in the name of the Government that the delegates would be safe from arrest or surveillance until 10 o’clock the next morning; to which I answered that nothing would satisfy me short of full and complete compliance with the terms of the safe-conduct. My colleagues returned similar replies.

On the 7th instant the minister of Brazil, the French chargé d’affaires, and I were about to send identical telegrams to our respective Governments setting forth the facts, and also to address identical letters of protest to the Government, when by medium of Mr. Juan E. MacKenna, ex-minister of foreign relations, and also by another gentleman, we received from the President verbal messages to say that Mr. Godoy had spoken under excitement consequent upon the attempt of which he had been the victim; that in what he had said regarding the safe-conduct he had not expressed the sentiments of the President or the ministry, and that the safe-conduct should continue in full force until we should fix the time of its termination.

On the 8th instant the minister of foreign relations, in the name of the President, addressed to us a note on the same subject, of which I inclose a copy (inclosure 4). I also inclose copy of my reply thereto, dated May 12 (inclosure 5).

Finding it impossible, under the circumstances, to make further progress with the negotiations for peace, we abandoned the attempt for the present, and have addressed a joint note to the delegates of the opposition, of which I inclose copy, dated May 10 (inclosure 6).

I also inclose a copy of a joint memorandum, dated May 12, addressed to the minister for foreign relations, fixing the termination of the safe-conduct (inclosure 7).

Of the seven gentlemen who composed the committee of delegates of the opposition, six had, previous to the issue of the safe-conduct, been concealed in Santiago and one, Mr. Prats, had been living here openly. The Government having accorded to the five who were named in the safe-conduct and to Mr. Prats permission to leave the country, I communicated with Rear-Admiral McCann, who offered to take them on board the Baltimore to Oallao; but, before arrangements could be made for leaving, the Baltimore received orders from the Navy Department to sail on other duty. The generous offer of the admiral is, however, very highly appreciated here. Subsequently only two of the number, Mr. Pedro Montt and Mr. Eulojio Altamirano, elected to avail of the permission to leave, and those gentlemen were escorted to Valparaiso by [Page 126] myself and colleagues and were placed by us in safety on board the French corvette Volta on the 15th instant.

Apart from the momentary loss of temper on the part of Mr. Godoy, which, under the circumstances, was not without some excuse, the action of the Government, and especially that of the President, in regard to all matters connected with this negotiation, and also towards the delegates of the opposition, has been excellent.

I may add that the spirit displayed by the delegates of the opposition throughout our intercourse has been most excellent, and that both sides feel, as will be seen by the inclosed correspondence, deeply grateful to the United States, Brazil, and France for the efforts that have been made to reestablish internal peace in their country.

I shall carefully watch for and take advantage of any opportunity that may offer to promote the restoration of peace, and I trust you will find that under the circumstances detailed in this letter I have done all that was possible in that direction, as also for the due maintenance of the honor and dignity of my own Government.

I have, etc.,

Patrick Egan.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 164.—Translation.]

Safe-conduct for the delegates of the opposition.

The honorable ministers of the United States, of Brazil, and of France, duly authorized by their respective Governments and acting conjointly, have conveyed to the Government of Chile their desire to exercise their good offices between the Government and the parties of the opposition for the reëstablishment of the public peace.

The Government having accepted for its part those good offices, the said honorable ministers have solicited adequate guaranties for the persons of the parties of the opposition with whom they must communicate.

Consequently, the minister of foreign relations, in the name of the Government, concedes personal guaranty to the extent that the following gentlemen can not be arrested, imprisoned, nor molested in any manner whatsoever, viz, Mr. Melchior Concha i Toro, Mr. Carlos Walker Martinez, Mr. Eulojio Altamirano, and Mr. Pedro Montt, with the object that they may be able to hold the necessary conferences with the diplomatic ministers above named.

In case the said conferences do not produce favorable results, the present guaranty will continue for such time as the said honorable diplomatic ministers may designate. This guaranty will be used by the persons to whom it is conceded with the prudence necessary in order to preserve the due secrecy of the conferences and in order not to call public attention to themselves.

This document will remain deposited with the honorable minister representing the United States.

Ricardo Cruzat.

This guaranty is extended to Mr. Gregorio Donoso upon the same terms as those above mentioned.

Ricardo Cruzat.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 164.—Translation.]

Acceptance of good offices by the delegates of the opposition.

The undersigned, meeting in the legation of the United States of America, in Santiago, the 3d of May, 1891, in virtue of having accepted the generous offer which, with the object of intervening as mediators for the purpose of putting an end to the civil war which afflicts the Republic of Chile, the honorable minister plenipotentiary of the United States and the honorable representatives of Brazil and France [Page 127] have been good enough to make, we deem it our duty, in this our first meeting, to place on record the following facts:

I. The Hon. Jorge Montt, chief of the constitutional forces by sea and land, in the name of the provisional government established in the northern provinces, for himself and as representative of his colleagues, has communicated to us, by note of April 20 ultimo, that he received a dispatch from the honorable Rear-Admiral Hotham, commander of the naval forces of Her Britannic Majesty in the Pacific, in which, complying with the instructions of Hon. Mr. Kennedy, minister resident of Her Britannic Majesty, he placed in his hands a notification that the said honorable minister in his own name and in that of the honorable minister of Germany of their own initiation, offered their good offices for the purpose of entering into negotiations and to propose some modus operandi with the object of saving Chile from more bloodshed and more ruin.

That for his part Hon. Mr. Montt, charged with the defense of the rights of Parliament and of the constitutional system, believed he would have failed in his duty if he had not gladly accepted the negotiations; that he consequently accepted the generous initiative of the honorable ministers of Germany and England providing that the representatives of the opposition should be named from the persons who constitute a list communicated by him. Said list contains the names of the undersigned and of Mr. Alejandro Vial, who is absent from the country.

II. Hon. Mr. Kennedy, English minister, has been good enough to convey said communication, which has been brought to our knowledge.

III. The honorable ministers of the United States, Brazil, and France, prior to the date on which Hon. Mr. Kennedy placed in our hands the note of the council of the provisional government, had offered to the Government of Mr. Balmaceda and to some of the undersigned the good offices of their respective Governments.

IV. For the undersigned it would have been very satisfactory to accept the mediation of the honorable ministers of Germany and England had it not been for the fact that the good offices of the honorable ministers of the United States, Brazil, and France had been previously offered and already accepted by Mr. Balmaceda.

V. The subscribers, authorized to represent the council of the government of the north and the chief of the constitutional forces in negotiations, tending to reestablish peace and rule of the constitution and of the laws of the Republic, with ample power, consider themselves invested with sufficient power to accept, as we do accept, the mediation of the honorable representatives of the United States and of the Republics of Brazil and France.

For the purposes of what may transpire, we have agreed to place all of the foregoing in the knowledge of the honorable ministers who have honored us with the manifestations of their sentiments of interest and sympathy, and to place this document on record in the archives of this legation, begging the honorable minister plenipotentiary of the United States to be good enough to give it place therein.

  • B. Prats.
  • M. Concha i Toro.
  • E. Altamirano.
  • Pedro Montt.
  • Gregorio Donoso.
  • Eduardo Matte.
  • Carlos Walker Martinez.
[Inclosure 3 in No. 164.—Translation.]

Bases of peace submitted to mediators by the delegates of the opposition.


Messrs. Ministers: The mediation which your honors offered with the noble and elevated purpose of saving our country from the sacrifices which war imposes, even when conducted by both sides with the nobleness and generosity which should always govern contests between brothers, having been accepted by us, as indicated in our communication of yesterday, the moment has arrived to indicate to your excellencies the way which, in our judgment, may conduct to a peaceful solution without detriment to the high interests which the confidence of our compatriots has charged us to represent, and whose defense is for us a patriotic and unavoidable duty.

After the blood that has been spilled, after the sacrifices and horrible vexations endured with fortitude by our fellow-citizens in those moments of tribulation and shame for the country, we, Messieurs Ministers, do not change the formula of our former ciaims, and demanding to-day the same that we claimed yesterday, we believe, gives evident testimony of supreme moderation.

In the name of our compatriots we offer to lay down arms if there be reëstablished in all its vigor the supremacy of the constitution and the laws of the Republic, [Page 128] with the declaration and recognition of the nullity of all the acts executed in open violation of their provisions; the constitutional and legal situation to be reinstated from December 31 last, with the result of removing from our records the decrees in which have been exceeded the faculties given according to our laws to the executive power.

Consequently, and simply as an example in order to clearly express our idea, we say that the decree which ordered the holding of elections of senators, of deputies, and of municipal representatives in the mouth of March last, being completely and absolutely unconstitutional, the citizens who derive their titles from those elections, vitiated by inexcusable want of efficacy, can not be recognized as legitimate representatives of the people.

Still further as an example, we recall that the tribunals of justice should practice at once, with all the amplitude of jurisdiction which our laws accord them, and that there should be canceled the numerous decrees of dismissal of public employés who were protected by constitutional and legal guaranties which have not been respected.

The legitimate Congress, whose powers continue in force, should be convocated with all dispatch, in order to provide all that may be necessary with respect to future elections, the public funds, the maintenance of the army and of the navy, and, in general, the constitutional and legal order of the Republic.

In a word, we demand that which is a perfect right, and for every citizen an undoubted debt, that is, that there be reëstablished the supremacy of the constitution and of the laws, abolishing all the powers or authorities that in months past of the present year have been dictated contrary to their prescriptions.

In the second place, we demand efficacious guaranties that will assure the complete and loyal execution of the requests we have advanced.

Now, Messieurs Ministers, mediators, you know our ideas, and we confidently hope that the supreme moderation and undeniable justice in which they have been inspired may be appreciated at their value.

Our demands would not be regarded as excessive in any civilized country. If they should be accepted, the mediation of the representatives of the three Republics would have produced a result a thousand times blessed in assuring and consolidating among us respect for the law, that indispensable base of popular government.

If it should be rejected, armed resistance will be more and more justified, not only before our own conscience and before our patriotism, but before the opinion of the civilized world.

The honorable ministers will observe that we abstain from indicating what should be, in our judgment, the guaranties of loyal execution that the agreement should contain, and we hasten to give the reason of our proceeding.

We seek brevity, and the discussion between us of the points regarding our second requirement would be useless if the first should not be accepted.

We hope, then, that the honorable ministers, mediators, when they can do so, will have the goodness to inform us if the Government of Santiago accepts or not the idea of submitting itself to the constitution and to the laws of the Republic.

In the first place, we will hasten to indicate the means that, in our belief, would bring back to our country confidence in her future and the quietude it has lost.

Expressing again to the honorable ministers and to the Governments which they so worthily represent the assurance of our gratitude.

We remain, your obedient servants,

  • B. Prats.
  • M. Concha i Toro.
  • E. Altamirano.
  • C. Walker Martinez.
  • Gregorio Donoso.
  • Eduardo Matte.
  • Pedro Montt.

[Inclosure 4 in No. 164.—Translation.]

Señor Cruzat to the mediators.

[In triplicate.]

To Messieurs Patrick Egan, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States; H. B. Calvacanti de Lacerda, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of Brazil; A. de France, chargé d’affaires of France:

Messieurs Ministers: I have the honor to address myself, in the name of His Excellency the President of the Republic, to the ministers of the United States of America, [Page 129] of Brazil, and of France, for the purpose of expressing to them the lively and sincere acknowledgments of my Government for the good offices exercised in favor of the re-establishment of peace and of the general quietude of the Republic.

The solicitude with which the honorable ministers have discharged their delicate task and their desire to procure a solution which would put an end to the misfortunes produced by the civil strife provoked by the 7th of January last binds once more the feelings of friendship which my Government has always professed for the nations and the Governments which your honors represent.

My Government has been disposed to hear propositions from the revolutionary party which might permit it to deliberate in view of what its duty and patriotism required in presence of proposals clearly defined and manifested by the opposition groups in arms against the constituted Government.

It is evident that the committee of direction of the revolution considered that they could place in the knowledge of the honorable ministers the bases upon which it was possible to put an end to the pending conflict, but without empowering your honors to communicate them to my Government only when in its name had also been formulated conditions of settlement.

It was not possible to accept this proceeding, inasmuch as it involved a recognition of the revolutionary attitude that would impair the foundation of authority, for which His Excellency the President could not, nor would not, refuse to make sacrifices, however painful they might be to his sentiments and affections.

Events have marked out for His Excellency the President of the Republic the only line of conduct compatible with his duties and the high principles of preservation of public order entailed by the post which he fills: to hear the propositions formulated by the party of the opposition and to deliberate upon them with the spirit of equity and patriotic discretion which corresponds to the chief of the Republic.

Not because the good offices of the honorable ministers may have been unfruitful shall my Government remain unmindful of the noble and elevated sentiments which individually and collectively have accompanied their efforts.

I can not conclude without giving to the honorable ministers an explanation especially recommended by His Excellency the President of the Republic.

In the conference which took place the day before yesterday (Wednesday) in the ministry of the interior at 5 o’clock in the evening there occurred a misunderstanding with one of the honorable ministers with respect to the duration of the personal safe-conduct conceded by the Government through the medium of your honors to the persons who constitute the revolutionary committee in Santiago.

The honorable minister of the interior arrived at his office and at the conference referred to immediately after having been a victim of an odious attempt which put in danger his life and those of his colleagues the president of the Senate and other respectable senators who accompanied them. Under the impression of that act the honorable minister of interior believed that what had occurred could not fail to attach to the directors of the revolution, and that in consequence had ceased the guaranties conceded under the faith of the respect due to persons even in a state of war and of internal struggle.

But the faith of the work pledged before your honors, and the consideration which is due from this Government to your honors and to your respective Governments, whatever may have been the violence of the action perpetrated by individuals of the opposition, obliges us to respect the guaranty conceded under date of the 2d instant until the honorable ministers are pleased to fix the day on which same shall cease.

With sentiments of highest esteem, etc.,

Ricardo Cruzat.
[Inclosure 5 in No. 164.]

Mr. Egan to Señor Cruzat.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of the note which your excellency, in the name of His Excellency the President of the Republic, has addressed to me on the 8th instant, relating to the good offices of the United States of America, Brazil, and France for the restoration of the peace of Chile.

The explanation which in the last part of said note your excellency has given in relation to what occurred on the occasion of the interview between my colleagues and I and the honorable minister of interior on the 6th instant, at 5 o’clock p.m., makes it evident that that gentleman, in declaring ineffective from that moment the [Page 130] safe-conduct granted to the delegates of the opposition with whom we were to treat, acted without authorization from the Government of Chile. We are therefore enabled to fix the time at which the guaranty referred to shall cease, as in fact we did yesterday.

For my part I accept with thanks the explanation, which is all the more satisfactory because of its spontaneity.

Availing myself, etc.,

Patrick Egan.
[Inclosure 6 in No. 164.—Translation.]

The mediators to the delegates of the opposition.

Messieurs Belisario Prats, Melchior Concha i Toro, Eulojio Altamirano, Carlos Walker Martinez, Gregorio Donoso, Eduardo Matte, and Pedro Montt:

Gentlemen: We have the honor to acknowledge receipt of the note which you have been good enough to address to us, the 5th of this month, communicating the basis upon which you would be disposed to enter into arrangements with the Government for the reestablishment of the internal peace of Chile, under the good offices which we have offered, and which have been accepted by both sides.

Before all, we may be permitted to convey to you our gratitude for the good opinions which you have so cordially expressed with respect to our Governments and their representatives.

With the impartiality imposed by our public character, and, besides, by the august mission which we were called upon to fill towards the two branches of the Chilean family, to-day unfortunately divided, we have endeavored to open a road which would conduct to their union.

The names of all of the distinguished gentlemen who have signed the letter of the 5th of May are of themselves sufficient guaranty of the elevated and correct form of that political document, and which impression we have entertained since it came to our cognizance. The character with which we are invested, as you well comprehend, prohibits us from pronouncing with respect to its substance.

You having intimated the desire that the Government should not receive any knowledge of the basis of arrangement of the opposition unless they should deliver to us their conditions in writing, we approached the Moneda on 6th instant with this object.

Our efforts have been fruitless; the Government for its part gave us to understand that it would not give us any knowledge of its conditions unless we should previously communicate to it the basis of arrangement of the opposition.

Before we were able to come to an understanding upon the manner of arranging this question of form, the Government, alluding to an incident entirely unconnected with this matter, which had occurred in the evening of the same day, declared the negotiations broken off.

We deplore the want of success of the negotiations, and sincerely hope that in the near future the Chilean nation may be able to follow again the path of unalterable peace in search of those high destinies that Providence has reserved for her

We have, etc.,

  • Patrick Egan.
  • H. B. Cavalcanti de Lacerda.
  • A. De France.
[Inclosure 7 in No. 164.—Translation.]

Termination of safe-conduct.

In virtue of the power conferred upon us in the safe-conduct conceded under date of 2d of present month, the undersigned have the honor to communicate to his excellency the Hon. R. Cruzat, minister of foreign affairs of Chile, that they fix the day of the 15th of May instant, at 12 o’clock at night, as the time when said guaranty shall cease.

  • Patrick Egan.
  • H. B. Cavalcanti de Lacerda.
  • A. De France.