Mr. Buchanan to Mr. Hay.

No. 700.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 481, of April 11 last, in which you refer to the translation of the Argentine-Chilean treaty of 1881, which appears in our Foreign Relations for 1881, [Page 4] and suggest the advisability of my explaining to the minister of foreign relations the source from which the said translation was taken.

While at the government house a few days ago on some business with the minister for foreign affairs, he incidentally brought up the boundary question, and I then took occasion to make the explanation you suggest in the closing paragraph of your dispatch to which I am referring.

I added that if the explanation I was thus making was deemed of sufficient importance to be transmitted to the Argentine legation in London, I should be greatly obliged, under all the circumstances of the case, could I have a copy of the form in which it was communicated, so that I might be able to advise you of its character.

The minister replied that he would gladly accede to my request. This he did, and I am therefore able to inclose herewith copy and translation of his note advising me of the character of the information sent the Argentine legation in London.

In view of the importance which seems to be attached to the subject of the translations made of the word “vertientes” at the time of the signing of the treaty, it may not be out of place to call your attention to the fact, that, in the record book in this legation in which the correspondence had between our ministers here and in Chile was written in Spanish and English at the time, the translation of that part of article 1 of the 1881 treaty with which we are concerned appears thus: “The frontier line will run in that extension along the highest peaks of said cordilleras as may divide the waters and will pass between the springs that course down either side.”

I have no means of knowing who made the translations appearing in the record book I refer to nor who copied the originals and translations into the book.

I have, etc.,

William I. Buchanan.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 700.—Translation of No. 1.]

Minister Alcorta to Mr. Buchanan.

Distinguished Mr. Minister: After the conversation I had yesterday with your excellency, I addressed to our legation in England the telegram the text of which I take pleasure in transmitting to your excellency. It was as follows:

Conversing to-day with Minister Buchanan upon another subject, I incidentally spoke of limits question. The minister took the opportunity thus afforded to say that some time back he forwarded his Government a copy of Dr. Lamarca’s translation of treaties with Chile, and that in doing so he called attention to Dr. Lamarca’s criticism of 1881 treaty, which appeared in United States Foreign Relations for 1881. Minister Buchanan added that some days ago he had received an acknowledgment of his dispatch from the Secretary of State, wherein the latter said that, should the occasion offer itself, the former might say to me that the translation thus criticised by Dr. Lamarca was not made by the Department of State, but was taken from an English newspaper published here and transmitted to the Department of State by the United States legation here. The Department of State, therefore, said the minister, thought it best to thus let me know that the said translation was, therefore, in no sense an official one, and that the United States Government, hence, must disclaim [Page 5] all responsibility for any claim which might be made by either party to the said treaty as to the correctness of said translation by reason of its publication in a United States official document. Should the subject of said translation be brought up at any time, you will make the above explanations known to the arbitration commission.

I take advantage of this opportunity to greet your excellency with the assurances of my most distinguished consideration and to repeat myself,

Your obedient servant,

A. Alcorta.