Mr. Hicks to Mr. Gresham.
Lima, June 12, 1893. (Received July 1.)
Sir: Before the receipt of Department’s No. 289, of May 3, 1893, I had a long interview with Dr. Jimenez, the minister of foreign affairs, in regard to the outrage upon the consular agency at Mollendo, in which I requested some action immediately, as my term of service was drawing to a close, and I wished to terminate the incident before I left. The minister, with great fairness, acknowledged the regret that Peru had for the affair and pleaded the extreme poverty of the country as a reason why no large indemnity could be paid. I assured him that the U. S. Government was not after money at all; that his predecessor had voluntarily proposed to pay the necessary expenses growing out of the disturbance, and that my only desire was to have the incident closed on terms equally satisfactory to the two Governments. I also assured him that if be would make me any proposition he chose, I would take great pleasure in transmitting it to the Department. Upon this, the minister promised to take it into immediate consideration and notify me as soon as a decision was reached.
Upon receipt of Department’s No. 289, of May 3, 1893, I was instructed as follows:
A tender by Peru of reimbursement of his (Mr. Meiers’) expenses of medical attendance, etc., consequent upon his wound, would be a gracious act and probably acceptable.
Inasmuch as the Department on May 3 had not received the papers in the full claim submitted by Mr. Meier, I judged that this suggestion possibly might be a little milder than the Department would have made had all the documents in the case been at hand.[Page 521]
I at once called upon the minister again, and while courteously expressing the same desire to do complete justice to the United States and to its representative at Mollendo, he stated that according to official reports received from his subordinates in Mollendo the damage sustained by Mr. Meier personally had been greatly exaggerated and that the extent of the injury to his property had also been unduly increased through the connivance of personal friends; and further, that at the time of the attack the escutcheon of the United States was not in its place upon the front of the building, thus establishing the hypothesis, if his information is correct, that the mob did not know that the building was, and for the purposes of, a consulate.
I assured the minister that I could not personally vouch for the correctness of Mr. Meier’s claim; that it was the minister’s right and duty to investigate thoroughly all the circumstances; that the Government of the United States cared more for the maintenance of the friendly relations between the two countries than for any pecuniary indemnity, and that I felt under the instructions recently received that I could safely leave to him the question of the amount. He then expressed the belief that 1,000 sols would be about the proper sum, and I agreed to telegraph the offer to the Department and advise its acceptance. The minister promised to make the written proposition in a few days, and the interview closed.
On the 9th instant I received a note from the minister, couched in exceedingly friendly terms, and raising the amount offered to 2,000 sols. I replied at once to the minister and sent by telegraph to the Department a synopsis of the minister’s offer. A copy of the notes to and from the minister is attached herewith.
I am now awaiting Department’s instructions. Should my action and the minister’s proposition receive the Department’s approval, I feel like extending congratulations to all concerned, because I consider the action of the Peruvian Government exceedingly fair and even generous.
I am, etc.,