File No. 722.2315/526.

The Chilean Chargé d’Affaires to the Secretary of State.

[Aide mémoire.]

The chargé d’affaires of Chile has received telegraphic instructions from his Government to transmit to the Secretary of State the following telegram received from Santiago on January 16:

The minister of Chile in Quito reports that the minister for foreign affairs of Ecuador does not accept the proposition of taking the case to The Hague Court, because the question at issue involves vital interests which affect the sovereignty of his country in a manner that only Ecuador can appreciate. Besides, Ecuador does not purpose to fall again into the same error that she committed in 1887 under which she submitted to arbitration two-thirds of her territory. The Ecuadorian Government adds that the best solution of the controversy is a compromise by direct settlement, by which, through mutual concessions, the disputed zone that is afterwards to be divided should be determined. It states further that these are the terms in which the Government replies to the note of the mediators.

The minister for foreign affairs of Chile has answered, through the medium of our representative, as follows:

We regret the resistance of Ecuador to resorting to The Hague, and we find that there are not sufficient grounds for the reasons adduced for following such a course. The argument referring to vital interests is not applicable since the case is not that of a compulsory arbitration, but an arbitration freely consented to. If in 1887 it consented to submitting the question to arbitration by Spain, there is no reason why it should not, at this time, submit the question to a tribunal which offers every guaranty of impartiality, the more so if it be considered that the refusal of Ecuador to abide by the decision of the Spanish Government is what provoked the conflict. It is not necessary for Ecuador to have delegates at The Hague Tribunal, since by virtue of articles 47 and 51 of The Hague Convention for the settlement of international disputes, the parties may freely appoint national or foreign arbitrators. As to the determination which is the object of this litigation, it could be made in the same manner as it was made before the Spanish Government. It is wise to insist upon the proviso that the arbitrator should be invested with the powers of an “amiable compositeur” thus facilitating an equitable solution and the division of the disputed territory in the best possible manner. We can not see why Ecuador should act in conjunction with Colombia in Settling the boundary question with Peru; it did not proceed in that wise at the time of the arbitration by the King of Spain. The direct settlement proposed by Ecuador is not feasible on account of its exigencies, and because according to its affirmations it would have to act in accord with Colombia, which would render the solution impossible.

[Page 181]

We trust that Ecuador will accept the proposal of arbitration, because we do not see another way of settling the difficulty without altering the peace of the continent. The Government of Chile supports the action of the mediators because of the good relations that bind us to them, which we desire to maintain, and also by reason of the just purpose for which they unselfishly work.

Our legation in Washington is informed of the purposes stated.