Señor Lazcano to Mr. Blaine.
Washington, May 5, 1891. (Received May 6.)
Sir: I feel deeply grateful for the friendly action taken by the United States Government in the case of the Robert and Minnie, at Wilmington, which I recently had the honor to bring to your notice. It is now my duty to inform you that I have just received the following information by telegraph:
The Robert and Minnie left Wilmington before the instructions of the Government had reached the authorities of that port, having a cargo of arms on board, and being bound, as is believed, for the port of San Diego.
Meantime, the transport Itata has arrived in the port of San Diego. This vessel has been and still is, I think, in the service of the Chilean insurgents as a war transport vessel.
The steamer Itata has represented itself to be a Chilean merchant vessel from Iquique, a port occupied by the insurgents, and has entered the port of San Diego for the alleged purpose of taking in provisions so as to continue its voyage to San Francisco, but in reality its sole object is to receive a large cargo of arms and munitions of war from the Robert and Minnie for the use of the Chilean insurgents.
For these reasons I request that the same instructions that were sent to Wilmington may be sent without delay to San Diego, in order that a violation of the duties of neutrality of the United States may be prevented, and that this legation may be enabled to take suitable action.
It is evident that a vessel in the service of the Chilean insurgents as a war transport vessel, from Iquique, which port is held by said insurgents, can not have been converted by them, either at Iquique or elsewhere, into a merchant vessel carrying a recognized flag.
I do not entertain the slightest doubt that the Government which unequivocally established the principles of the duties of neutrals in the treaty of Washington of 1871 will, without hesitating for a moment, exercise the power which it has to protect a neighboring and friendly nation from the outrages and injuries that would result from a violation of the laws of neutrality against which it then so forcibly and successfully protested.
I take pleasure in renewing to you the assurance, etc.