File No. 944/93–95.

The American Minister to Chile to the Secretary of State.

Sir: Referring to the negotiations for a settlement of the Tacna-Arica question, pending between Chile and Peru, I have the honor to report that about two or three weeks ago the Chilean Foreign Office sent instructions to the Chargé d’Affaires at Lima to present to the Peruvian Minister of Foreign Affairs the bases which Chile was willing to accept. I am now able to inclose herewith a statement of these bases written in Minister Edwards1 own hand.

The Peruvian Government had already proposed to enter on negotiations for a settlement and that ministers plenipotentiary be sent respectively to Santiago and Lima. No bases were, however, suggested by Peru, and Chile refused to exchange ministers until Peru should have definitely accepted preliminary bases.

The Argentine Minister has been aiding the Foreign Office all he can during the last three weeks to induce the Peruvian Government to accept Chile’s preliminary terms. He tells me, however, that his Government’s action has not been and will not be in the way of intervention or mediation, but only by way of friendly counsel. Undoubtedly already the Argentine Foreign Office has offered advice on the subject to the Peruvian Minister at Buenos Aires and has instructed its own Minister at Lima to offer similar advice to the Foreign Office there.

The Argentine Minister approached me two days ago with the purpose of ascertaining the probable disposition of the State Department as to seconding Argentina’s action at Lima and Washington. I told him I had received no instructions, information, or intimations from the Department.

I have [etc.]

T. C. Dawson.

Statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Chile of the bases for settlement of the Tacna-Arica question which Chile is willing to accept.

The plebiscite will be held on a date that will allow Chile to fulfill her undertakings with Bolivia as to the construction of the Arica-La Paz railroad. Note: It is calculated that the section in Chile will be finished in 1911.
The voting shall be by secret ballot and in it shall be entitled to take part all the inhabitants—Chileans, Peruvians and foreigners—who shall have the following qualifications:
Citizenship with right to vote in Chile or Peru. Note: The same qualifications are required in both countries.
Minimum residence of six months (in the disputed provinces.)
Chile shall preside over the acts connected with the plebiscite and the Electoral Commission shall be composed of three members: a Chilean, who shall be President, a Peruvian, and a neutral. Note: As to this point Chile thinks that the right to preside over the plebiscite can not be conceded by her seeing that her sovereign rights continue until the inhabitants of Tacna and Arica may determine to return to the dominion of Peru. This does not [Page 1173] permit her to act otherwise without violating her own national decorum and dignity. Chile is disposed to accept whatever method Peru may propose in order to assure the correctness and fairness of the plebiscite, but she can not give up the presidency thereof. In her opinion the giving up of the presidency would not tend to this end, because she does not insist upon it with the purpose of making the plebiscite unfair and incorrect, but rather because the existing legal situation requires it, and because of the rights conferred upon her by the Treaty of Ancon.
She would even be disposed to consent that the Electoral Commission be composed of four members: A Chilean, who would preside; a Peruvian, and two neutrals of differing nationalities, with the condition that in case of a tie the opinion of the President shall prevail; but this is the farthest concession she could make.
In everything not inconsistent with the present proposition, Chile would accept the stipulations of the Billinghurst-Latorre protocol.

Note: In Peru this procotol is considered the ideal solution, and therefore the above formula is proposed.

  1. Chilean Minister for Foreign Affairs.