Minister Beaupré to the Secretary of State.
Buenos Aires, September 6, 1906.
Sir: As minister of the United States to this Republic, I understand it to be a part of my duty to make, for the information present and future of the department, a record of all events that transpire, as well as of all measures enacted, within the limits of my territory, that may have or be given international significance. The visit of the Secretary of State of the United States to the Argentine Republic, at the invitation and as guest of the Argentine Government, is in itself an international act and one, in my judgment, of inestimable significance. In accordance, therefore, with my understanding of my duty, I have the honor herewith to report the facts of his visit, and at the same time to interpret, as I may be able, the feelings of this Government and people and their attitude at the time of and subsequent to Mr. Root’s sojourn in their country.
Mr. Root arrived at the port of Buenos Aires on board the Argentine war ship Buenos Aires at 11 o’clock of the morning of the 14th ultimo. With my wife and the secretary of legation I went to the Government House at 9.30 a.m. of the same day, where I met the minister for foreign affairs and his wife, Señora Montes de Oca, the minister of marine, the subsecretary of foreign affairs and his wife, Señora Tedin Uribarri. By communication by wireless telegraphy with the Buenos Aires we were kept informed of her movements until she entered basin No. IV of the closed port, when the entire party proceeded thither and waited while the vessel was warped to and made fast. Here we were joined by the Argentine minister to Washington and his wife Señora Portela, and by the Argentine secretary of legation at Washington, Señor Carlos Zavalia, During the morning an overcast sky portended rain, yet thousands of eager welcomers had congregated at the dock and on the streets leading thereto, filling all the available space, a detachment of marines keeping a passageway clear for the official party. The rain began falling heavily just as the vessel was moored. As soon as the gang plank was put ashore, the receiving party went on board and cordial greetings were interchanged, the minister for foreign affairs welcoming Mr. Root and his family.
After certain necessary arrangements were completed, the entire party went ashore, entered the carriages provided by the Government that were in waiting, and drove through the principal thoroughfares of the city, which had been elaborately and beautifully decorated for the occasion, to the private residence of Dr. José M. Llobet, No. 368 Avenida General Alvear, which the proprietor had kindly, at great expense and infinite personal care and attention, fitted for this particular purpose and put at the disposal of the Argentine Government for the occupation of its guest. In spite of the violent torrents of rain that greeted Mr. Root’s arrival at and passage through the streets of Buenos Aires, it was the occasion of a most unusual demonstration of enthusiasm, crowds accompanying his carriage on foot, regardless of the elements, from the port to the house of Doctor Llobet, a distance of about 2 miles, hailing him with cries of “Viva Mr. Root,” “Viva Los Estados Unidos,” and with “hurrahs,” that [Page 22]were most gratifying testimony of the genuine feeling of the Argentine people; gratifying not only to the guests of the nation, but to the Argentines themselves, many of whom expressed to me their satisfaction at the spontaneity of the popular demonstration. At times the crowd grew so dense that the carriages were scarcely able to pass, while the balconies and windows of the houses and sidewalks were filled with enthusiastic spectators.
Arrived at their residence in this city, Mr. Root and his party were left to rest and breakfast alone. At 2.30 o’clock of the afternoon the introducer of ministers of the Argentine Government, Baron de Marchi, came to the residence of Mr. Root, in the gala presidential coach, to accompany him to the Government House to visit the President of the Republic. I accompanied Mr. Root, with the introducer of ministers and Mr. Root’s aid, Lieutenant Palmer. In a second carriage Mr. White, the secretary of legation, and Captain Parker, the military attaché to the legation, accompanied Mr. Edward Root. The party proceeded by various of the principal thoroughfares, other than those traversed in the morning, to the Government House. Here the President of the Republic, attended by the entire cabinet, members of the supreme court, the presidents of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, and the superior officers of the army and navy awaited Mr. Root. The ceremony was very brief. The President of the Republic and Mr. Root exchanged a few words, and the members of the cabinet and others of those present were introduced. Mr. Root then withdrew and returned to his residence, in the same manner in which he had gone to the Government House. Immediately after the return of Mr. Root to his residence the card of the President was left there, the President thus returning the formal visit of the Government’s guest.
After this Mr. Root received the visits of the members of the cabinet, the mayor of the city, and of the reception committee appointed by the Government, as reported in Mr. White’s No. 395, of July 27 last, to arrange the programme for the entertainment of its guest.
At 8 o’clock of the evening of this day, August 14, the Government offered Mr. Root a banquet at the Government House, the invitations to which were issued by the minister for foreign affairs for the President of the Republic and, translated, read as follows:
Manuel A. Montes de Oca, minister for foreign affairs and worship, presents his very attentive compliments to (his excellency the envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States), and in the name of His Excellency the President of the Republic is pleased to invite him to the banquet that in honor of His Excellency Secretary of State of the United States of America will take place at the Government Palace, the 14th instant at 8 p.m.
Mr. Root and his party went to this banquet, accompanied by the personnel of the legation, and returned in the same manner. The illumination of the streets and principal buildings on this and subsequent evenings is worthy of mention; it had been planned and prepared without regard to expense and on a scale unsurpassed, I believe, in any other capital of the world.
There were present at the banquet the entire official body of the Government and the foreign diplomatic corps. Two speeches were made at the close of the banquet; the one by the President of the Republic, toasting the United States; the other by Mr. Root in reply. I inclose a copy of the President’s speech, as transcribed in La Prensa [Page 23]of the next day, and a copy of it in translation, as it appeared in the Standard of the next day, August 15; also a copy of Mr. Root’s reply as given in the Standard of the next day, and a copy of the same in translation as it appeared in La Prensa of the next day, August 15.
It is needless for me to say, and yet I need to say it, that the words of the Secretary of State could not have been more fittingly chosen or have produced a more happy effect than was evident on this occasion. The Argentine Government had most courteously awaited Mr. Root’s arrival, with kindly anticipation of assurances of disinterested friendship. The moment had come for the special envoy of the United States to speak and to satisfy this expectation, and his words, by their very frankness, directness, and sincerity, carried them beyond their hopes to enthusiastic approval and absolute conviction, for he vindicated once more the irreproachable policy of the United States, and its disinterested adherence to the highest ideals of humanity.
This constituted the strictly official part of the Government’s programme.
The morning of the 15th Mr. Root, accompanied by the minister of public instruction, visited various schools of the capital. On the afternoon of the 15th the President of the Republic came in the gala coach to the residence of Mr. Root and accompanied him to the races at the Hipodromo Argentino; the wife of the President accompanied Mrs. Root. The order of precedence in the carriages on this occasion may be seen from the copy of the official programme which I inclose.
On the evening of this day a special gala performance was given at the opera. The President of the Republic, with his cabinet officers, awaited Mr. Root in the presidential box and gave him the seat of honor at his right. With the personnel of the legation and the commander of the Charleston, I accompanied Mr. Root in the presidential box. Mrs. Root accompanied the wives of the President and minister for foreign affairs in the box at the right of the presidential box; Miss Root accompanied Señora Portela and Mrs. Beaupré in the box at the left of the presidential box.
August 16 was devoted to one of the principal estancias (stock farms) of the country, that of Señora de Vivot. On the evening of the 16th Mr. Root attended a reception tendered him by the Americans resident in the Argentine Republic. On this occasion he made a speech, of which I inclose a copy as it appeared in the Standard of the next day, and a copy in translation as it appeared in La Nacion of the next day, August 17.
The morning of August 17 was devoted to a visit through the port of the capital, during which one of the largest grain elevators and flour mills and a representative slaughterhouse and frozen meat establishment were inspected. Mr. Root took occasion also to visit on the morning of this day the plants of La Prensa and La Nacion, the largest newspapers in the country. A luncheon was tendered him by the President of the Senate and ex officio Vice-President of the Republic, Dr. Benito Villanueva.
On the evening of the 17th Mr. Root was conducted by Dr. Luis M. Drago, ex-minister for foreign affairs and president of the official [Page 24]reception committee, to the opera house, where he attended a subscription banquet of some 600 covers given, as expressed on the first page of the menu, by “Buenos Aires to Mr. Boot.” It was a most representative gathering. At the close of the banquet Doctor Drago delivered a speech of welcome, a copy of which, in printed form as distributed at the banquet, I inclose. To this Mr. Boot replied in a speech, of which I inclose a copy cut from the Standard of the next day, and a copy in translation cut from La Prensa of the next day, August 18.
It is impossible to picture the enthusiasm of the audience as it listened to and grasped the full meaning of Mr. Boot’s words. Listened to with the most intense interest, repeatedly interrupted by the most spontaneous applause, he became, at the close of his speech, the object of the most unrestrained ovation that, I am assured, was ever offered to any person in this city, in which the entire audience thronged about him to accompany him to the doors of the building, while the ladies in the balconies tore loose all the floral decorations and showered them upon him. Never, I am convinced, in the history of this country has an Argentine audience been so penetrated by the lofty thought of a speaker or been so swayed by the eloquence of direct, frank utterance; never have higher ideals been presented to it, or the best that there is in this people come so straight to the fore in spontaneous acceptation of those ideals. With his speech at the opera Mr. Boot’s task in the Argentine Republic was accomplished. The Argentine people, as well as the Government, were now convinced of the disinterested intentions of the United States; the Monroe doctrine and the Drago doctrine were harmonized and given due definition; the Argentine press was disarmed; the Argentine people and those of the United States made friends on the surest of certain foundations—that of mutual acquaintance, understanding, and confidence.
I inclose the principal newspaper comments, cut from the journals subsequent to August 13, and translations of the more important ones. They are enumerated at the close of this dispatch. From them the entire and unconditional adhesion of the Argentine people to the friendly advances of the United States and the lofty utterances of its representatives can be seen. Not a discordant note is to be observed, or will be heard in our immediate and, it is to be hoped, permanent relations. Never, I believe, have those relations been established on a truer foundation.
On the morning of August 18 Mr. Boot made a tour of the city, and in the evening it was my privilege to entertain him and his family at dinner, with the officers of the Argentine Government and the diplomatic corps. A ball that had been planned at the Jockey Club was postponed at the request of the President of the Republic as an expression of sympathy with the neighboring republic of Chile in its affliction.
Sunday, August 19, Mr. Boot and party attended divine service at the American church, and at 2 p.m. left by special train for Bahia Blanca. The President of the Republic awaited him at the railway station in this city and took informal and cordial leave of the country’s guest. The introducer of ministers, in representation of the President, the subsecretary for foreign affairs, in representation [Page 25]of the minister for foreign affairs, the ministers of marine and public works, Admiral Howard and Captain Nunes of the Argentine Navy, certain members of the official reception committee, and I, accompanied Mr. Root and his party to Bahia Blanca.
This journey from the capital to the military port of Bahia Blanca, where he arrived during the forenoon of the next day, August 21, was attended by a series of ovations and enthusiastic demonstrations at every station at which a stop was made. At two places the crowd was so insistent that Mr. Root was compelled to address them, the subsecretary interpreting his remarks. At the port he was formally received by the admiral in charge of the same, and with him made a tour of inspection of the port and several of the Argentine warships. The entire party was then entertained at luncheon on board the Charleston, after which they took leave of Mr. Root and his party, and the Charleston weighed anchor and sailed away, amid the salutes of the Argentine marine. The fastest of the Argentine cruisers, the 25 de Mayo, accompanied the Charleston out of the port of estuary; at separating the two vessels exchanged appropriate salutes.
These are the facts of Mr. Root’s visit to this country. I have perhaps already sufficiently commented upon them. It remains only for me to say that I believe the plan of such a visit to have been a most fortunate one, and that this plan has been most happily carried out, to the lasting benefit of both countries, through an established and enduring friendship.
I am, etc.,
- Furnished by Mr. Drago.↩