Mr. Wilson to Mr. Hay.
Santiago, February 11, 1902.
Sir: I have the honor to report the arrival of the U. S. battle ship Iowa, Captain Perry commanding, at Talcahuano January 4. Upon the same date Captain Perry communicated with me by telegram, informing me of the arrival of the ship under his command and requesting me to obtain the consent of the Chilean Government to place the Iowa in the Talcahuano dry dock for immediate repairs.
This I did in an unofficial and informal way, and orders were at once communicated by the minister of marine to Admiral Perez, in command at Talcahuano, to admit the Iowa and furnish her with all facilities for the repairs necessary free of charge. I first learned of the character of the order which had been given through a note from Captain Perry, but as it seemed to me that the courtesy was one which the Government of the United States could not very well afford to accept, I requested the minister to send further instructions to the officer in command at Talcahuano to make the charges usual in such cases. This was finally done. While the Iowa remained at Talcahuano her officers were most hospitably and generously entertained, not only by the Government officials but by many people in private life.
Having all her repairs completed, and having been detached from the South Pacific Squadron by orders from Washington, the Iowa left Talcahuano on February 1 with sailing orders for Montevideo.
While it was not possible to accept the offer to grant dry-dock facilities free of charge, I have officially expressed my appreciation of the courtesy, and think it would not be unadvisable to advise the Navy Department of the action of the Chilean Government.
Upon January 20 the U. S. battle ship Wisconsin, Captain Reiter commanding, and, as flagship of the South Pacific Squadron, having on board Rear-Admiral Casey, arrived in the port of Valparaiso. Upon the same date I received official notice of the arrival from Admiral Casey, and went a few days afterwards to Valparaiso, where the admiral and his staff paid me an official visit, which was returned upon the day following.
On Wednesday, the 29th, the admiral with his staff came with me to Santiago, and upon the afternoon of the same day we paid an official visit to the President of the Republic, being afterwards entertained by his excellency at luncheon.
We returned upon the same night to Valparaiso for the purpose of attending an official banquet to be given by the officers of the Chilean navy to Admiral Casey and the officers of the Wisconsin. More than 100 Chilean and American officials participated in this impressive and cordial reunion, which took place in the Naval Academy. Brief toasts and responses were made by Admiral Montt and Admiral Urribe, of the Chilean navy, and by Admiral Casey, Captain Reiter, and myself. The occasion was exceedingly interesting and enjoyable, and the hospitality evinced was most highly appreciated by the officers of the Wisconsin.[Page 120]
Upon, the day following I made a second visit to the Wisconsin in company with the President of the Republic (who had been previously invited by Admiral Casey) and the minister of foreign relations, Señor Yanez. The President was received on board the Wisconsin with all the honors accorded to chief magistrates and sovereigns, and after making an inspection of the ship, in which he was greatly interested, we were entertained at an informal luncheon by Admiral Casey, the toast of “The Republic of Chile and its President” being offered by the undersigned and responded to by the Chilean minister of foreign relations.
On Monday, February 3, Admiral Casey and the officers of the Wisconsin, in acknowledgment of the official and private hospitalities and courtesies which had been extended to them, gave an informal matinee and ball on board the ship, which was attended by more than 500 official personages and representatives of the best Chilean families. The Wisconsin was decorated with the flags of all nations, and American music and American refreshments were offered to the Chilean guests.
On Tuesday, February 4, the admiral and the officers of the Wisconsin were entertained by the Valparaiso Club, the President of the Republic and many of the most important people in Chile attending.
On Thursday, the 6th instant, the Wisconsin sailed for the north, thus concluding a series of most interesting social and official events, which were the expression of the very cordial relations which now exist between the Government of Chile and the Government of the United States.
In conclusion, I have to report that the conduct of the officers and crew of the Wisconsin while in the port of Valparaiso was most exemplary and has left a most agreeable impression.
I have, etc.,