File No. 180/20.
Minister Hicks to the Secretary of State.
Santiago, June 3, 1908.
Sir: According to law, the Congress of Chile began its regular session on Monday, June 1, and the opening was marked with the usual ceremonies. In the hall of honor of Congress, the members of the two houses, the supreme court, the cabinet officials, and the diplomatic corps attended in full dress, and the President, Don Pedro Montt, read to the assembly his third annual message. Outside the hall the streets were filled with a military guard, and on the conclusion of the official ceremonies those present attended in a body at the Moneda, the official residence of the President. At the Moneda the guests were given a glass of champagne in which to drink the health of the President. Afterwards, from the balconies of the palace, those present were permitted to witness a parade of the military guard, and then the function was ended.
The message was an able document filling 50 pages of a pamphlet. As the most of it was devoted to domestic affairs, I give herewith a translation of some of the most important features, and I am sending herewith inclosed two copies of the message.
Following are the extracts, beginning with one from the first page:
The renewal of the diplomatic relations between Chile and Peru begins to give already beneficial results for both Republics. Conventions on several international services have been signed at Lima, and there have been begun in Santiago negotiations destined to the solution of the territorial problem still pending between the two nations.
I am confident in that a high idea of equity will indicate to the two peoples the most satisfactory solution.
At the end of the present year there will take place in Santiago, under the auspices of the Government of Chile, the reunion of the first Pan American Scientific Congress. Not only because it was recommended by the Chilean delegates to the third Latin-American Congress, but also because it will be celebrated in Santiago, we must respond worthily to the frank acceptation that idea has had in all the countries of America and in the great Republic of the north.
The frequent visits with which we have been honored by distinguished North American professors, the demonstration of international courtesy made to us lately by a great fleet of the United States, the efforts of the Government of that [Page 59] Republic to establish rapid lines of communication with our regions, are manifestations of sincere friendship which ought to inspire confidence in the Government and people of the great Republic.
Immigration has notably increased during the year, 8,810 immigrants having been received. In 1906 only 1,221 arrived. These people were formerly sent by private agencies of European nationality, but experience has taught us to change this system, and now, according to a new provision, the individuals sent by Chilean agents of immigration are the only ones that come to the country with passages paid by the Government.
Universal sorrow was caused by the death of the most illustrious and most reverend Archbishop of Santiago, Dr. Mariano Casanova. He was a prelate who was distinguished by his talents, science, and virtues; who governed the archdiocese of Santiago for 20 years, maintaining in a perfect way the harmony of church and state and helping to form priests of which the Republic can be proud.
After having heard the opinion of the counsel of state, I will ask from the honorable Senate its constitutional consent in order to present to his holiness for the election of archbishop of Santiago the illustrious Bishop of Flaviades, Dr. Juan Ignacio Gonzalez Eyzaguirre, who is now the vicar general of the archdioceses, and who has distinguished himself through his merits in the priesthood and by his interest in the welfare of the suffering.
In 1907 the revenues collected by the Government were $40,001,691.14 pesos gold and $154,976,385.16 pesos paper, which, added to the $6,406,725.60 gold and $7,177,065.13 paper from 1906, made a total sum for 1907 of $46,408,416.74 gold and $162,153,450.29 paper.
The expenses of the same year amounted to $31,134,445.97 gold and $180,640,337.69 paper.
Our international commerce reached in 1907 the sum of $573,762,585 gold of 18d.
The importations amounted to $293,681,855, according to tariff value, and the exportations $280,080,730, according to the current market values.
If we compare these figures with those corresponding to 1906, we find an increase of importations of $55,984,213 and a decrease of $9,540,067 in exportations.
In closing he calls on Providence to assist the Congress and the Government in the great work which they have in hand. Your obedient servant,