File No. 723.2515/141.
The American Minister to Argentina to the Secretary of State.
Buenos Aires, March 21, 1910.
Sir: I have the honor to report that I have to-day visited the Foreign Office to make some inquiries concerning the approaching centennial celebration. On my arrival there a newspaper reporter told me that Chile and Peru had just broken off diplomatic relations. The Minister for Foreign Affairs did not know that I had received this news. He soon introduced the subject of the Tacna-Arica dispute between Chile and Peru and spoke upon it at considerable length. The impression made upon me was that he was favorable to Chile. He seemed to feel that the failure to hold the plebiscite required by the Ancon Treaty was not the fault of Chile (which had proposed methods of holding the same) but the fault of Peru in refusing all the Chilean proposals. He was particularly bitter against Mr. Riva Agüero, the Peruvian Minister here, whom he characterized as impractical and unwilling to receive friendly suggestions. He dwelt largely upon what he called the unsettling influence that the Brazilian Minister for Foreign Affairs had exercised upon this question, charging him with stirring up the Peruvians so as to obtain from them a cession of territory to secure Brazil’s cooperation in case of war, which cooperation he believed would not be forthcoming when the occasion for it arose. The only comment I made upon his remarks was that it seemed unfortunate that the much-vexed Tacna-Arica question could not be removed from South American politics.
I have [etc.]