Señor Pedro Montt to Mr. Blaine .
Washington , December 11, 1891 .
Sir: I have brought to the knowledge of my Government the report contained in official documents, recently published in Washington, in relation to the lamentable event which took place in Valparaiso on the 16th of October last, between sailors of the Baltimore and Chilean seamen and stevedores.
My Government, being desirous to remove any cause which might disturb the good relations of the United States and Chile, has directed me to state to you that the report in question is open to the charge of inaccuracy in some essential particulars, and that the Government of Chile will make a complete statement of the facts so soon as the judicial investigation upon which it must be based shall have been concluded, as I had the honor to say to you in the interview which you were pleased to grant me on the 9th instant.
Immediately upon the occurrence of the lamentable events of Valparaiso, which my Government has deeply deplored, there was set on foot the judicial investigation provided by the laws for the prosecution and punishment of those who might be found culpable. Official notification of the progress of this investigation was received by the commander of the Baltimore on the 22d of October, by a note addressed to him by the intendente of Valparaiso; and on the 27th of October the minister of foreign relations of Chile, in a note to the minister plenipotentiary of the United States at Santiago, announced to him that so soon as the investigation should reach a final term the result thereof would be brought to his knowledge.
The judicial proceedings have not yet been completed. It has been necessary to take the testimony of numerous persons, among whom are the selfsame sailors of the Baltimore, and to adopt various measures to procure expert evidence, since the affair is not a simple matter of police, but involves a grave criminal case, in which men have been killed and wounded. The appearance of the sailors of the Baltimore, for example, was delayed for sometime, and up to the present time the evidence which was asked of the minister plenipotentiary of the United States at Santiago on the 9th of November has not been furnished.
My Government cherishes the assurance that the Government of the United States can not behold in the observance of the formalities fixed by the laws in respect to judicial matters, and in the solicitude with which the Chilean authorities are investigating occurrences in which some deaths are involved and which may entail capital punishment, anything save the fulfillment of the duty which is incumbent upon them to administer enlightened and upright justice.
Events like those which took place in Valparaiso on the 16th of October are not rare in ports visited by sailors of diverse nationalities, and there are no grounds whatever for attributing to the affair of Valparaiso any motive offensive to the United States.
If the result of the judicial investigation shall show the culpability of Chilean citizens, the Government of the United States may rest assured that they will be punished conformably to the laws. And, if the investigation should show responsibility on the part of the sailors of the Baltimore, my Government entertains the conviction that the Government of the United States would not wish them to go unpunished. [Page 326] The repression of crimes is a social interest of high importance, whatever the nationality of the guilty parties or of the victims.
With sentiments of the most distinguished consideration, I subscribe myself,
Your very faithful servant,
On the 14th of December Señor Montt left with Mr. Blaine a copy of inclosure to his note of December 19.
The following translations of notes from Señor Matta were delivered to Mr. Blaine by Señor Montt on the 16th of December, together with inclosures B, D, E, and F to his note of December 19, 1891:
Santiago, October 19, 1891.
Having been informed of the conflict which took place in your city between the mariners of the United States cruiser Baltimore and some of the national seamen, I beg that as soon as the proper testimony has been taken you will inform this department, so that it may be prepared for any diplomatic representations.
M. A. Matta.
A. Bascuñan M.
The Intendente of Valparaiso.