Mr. Bridgman to Mr. Hay.

No. 154.]

Sir: I have the honor to report to the Department the attitude of the Bolivian Government toward this legation relative to the protection of British subjects and interests in Bolivia. As instructed by the Department, I reported to the Bolivian Government the several requests to assume such protection, quoting the language in the dispatch received, and asking consent to act as requested until permanent British consular officer should be appointed.

The request to the new Government was sent shortly after my return. * * *

Last week’s mail brought this reply, of which I inclose herewith copy and translation.

There could have been no mistake in that the Bolivian Government regarded it as a regular appointment to ministership and consulship, for after quoting the sentence in dispatch and cablegram from Washington, I was careful to explain that, with my secretary, Mr. Zalles (also United States consul), we were asked to temporarily assume the duties of chargé d’affaires, I as diplomatic interests might require and Mr. Zalles as consular interests might require, over the subjects and interests of Great Britain until English consular officers were appointed. As shown in inclosed reply, they seem to make no distinction between temporary arrangement and regular appointment.

The inclosed reply is what I feared would be sent, as anything in the line of omission of exact form and ceremony is hardly tolerated by these people. Their idea evidently is that the State has no right to interfere with the civil judiciary authority, at the request of this legation, until some official document accrediting me, to the temporary position even, has been received by them. They do not state the kind of document they name as “usual,” and I do not know what they want, unless it may be a request similar to the one received, signed in the foreign office of the British Government.

* * * * * * *

I am more than willing to give all possible aid and care to British interests, but under existing conditions it can not be very much.

A virtual copy of the above has been forwarded to the office of the under secretary for foreign affairs, London.

Awaiting your advice and directions,

I have, etc.,

George H. Bridgman.
[Page 109]

Mr. Guachalla to Mr. Bridgman.

No. 9.]

Sir: It is pleasing for me to answer the esteemed note of your excellency dated the 4th instant, No. 11, in which you have the kindness to inform me that Messrs. George H. Bridgman and Gerardo Zalles had been urged by the British Government, according to dispatch transmitted to the State Department in Washington, to assume the representation of British interests in Bolivia, the first as chargé d’affaires and the second as consul.

It will be very satisfactory to me to receive the usual documents which will accredit your excellency and Mr. Zalles in this new character, and that will procure me the pleasure to cultivate with your excellency double diplomatic relations.

Meanwhile I offer, etc.,

Fernando E. Guachalla.