Mr. Egan to Mr. Gresham.
Santiago , April 19, 1893 . (Received June 1.)
Sir: On yesterday at 3:40 o’clock I had the honor to receive your telegram of same date, instructing me that the surrender of the refugees had been asked by the Chilean chargé d’affaires in Washington for [Page 222]trial by civil court, with assurance that they would be protected against violence when leaving legation, therefore that I should shelter them no longer, but before requiring them to leave the legation that I should give timely notice to the Chilean Government that it was expected to afford the promised protection.
In accordance with this instruction I intimated to the refugees, at about 4:40 yesterday, that I would be obliged to discontinue the asylum, and that I should at once notify the Chilean Government that it would be expected to afford the protection promised upon their going out. They begged of me not to notify the Chilean Government until 12 or 1 o’clock to-day, in order that they might have time to see their families and obtain some necessary clothing, which request I refused, feeling that it was my duty to act without delay.
I immediately proceeded to the department of foreign relations, where I arrived at 5 o’clock, and informed the chief of the diplomatic bureau, who was the principal officer there at the moment, of the substance of my instructions, which he undertook to communicate to the minister of foreign relations.
I had occasion to be absent from the legation for a short time from some minutes before 7 until half past 8 o’clock in the evening, and upon my return I learned that two ladies, presumably relatives of the refugees, had called at the legation at about 7:30 o’clock and that Mr. Fuentes had just been captured in the street in an attempt to walk out of the legation in company with one of these ladies, his only disguise being a false beard. The second lady and a gentleman who accompanied her were not detained by the police.
I found the intendente or governor of the province and the sub-secretary of foreign relations awaiting me in the legation, having already prepared a formal document, which they requested me to sign with them, setting forth that I had received orders from my Government to deliver to the Government of Chile the refugees in this legation, stating the fact of the capture of Mr. Fuentes, and witnessing the delivery, which I was expected to make, of Mr. Blanlot-Holley.
I informed them that I had no authority or right to enter into such agreement, that I was only instructed to discontinue sheltering the refugees and to ask for protection for them on going out from the legation, as I have done.
The intendente then informed me that he was there to receive Mr. Blanlot-Holley, and the sub secretary stated that the Chilean chargé d’affaires in Washington had informed his Government that I had been three times instructed to deliver the refugees. I declined to discuss the matter on the basis of delivering or receiving, whereupon the intendente said he was there to offer protection. I then proceeded to the room occupied by Mr. Blanlot-Holley, in order to require him to leave, but found that he had already gone out from the legation and that he had escaped capture, although the block in which the legation is situated was surrounded at the time by a large number of police and detectives, estimated at about 300 men.
I have, etc.,