File No. 723.2515/124.

The American Chargé d’Affaires at Santiago to the Secretary of State.


Your March 26. Chilean Minister for Foreign Affairs replies verbally to my note1 as follows:

Chile will always be pleased to have the United States extend good offices to citizens of any third nation not having its own Legation, as in the case of China, when Chile gladly accepted American representation. But in the present case Chile considers it to be desirable that the United States should not act in behalf of Peruvians on account of the following reasons:

  • First. Chile believes Peru does not seek protection for its citizens, who had all necessary protection from their consuls during other suspensions of diplomatic relations, as from 1901 to 1905, but rather a means of disturbing the friendly and cordial relations existing between the United States and Chile by constantly urging this Legation upon any pretext to press Peruvian claims. Peru has for years followed policy of pressing claims and would surely accentuate it if she could count on such influential intermediary as the United States.
  • Second. Peru is interested in estranging the United States and Chile for without reason she feels that such estrangement would be to her advantage in Tacna-Arica dispute. As Peru has ulterior motives her request to the United States may be viewed with suspicion.
  • Third. Peruvian public opinion has hoped for American aid in this dispute, and that of Chile has feared that such hope might have some foundation. Even though the two Governments know this to be inexact, general opinion would be likely to exaggerate the importance of good offices sought, and thus stimulate Peru to resist a solution and provoke in Chile a mistrust which Chile earnestly desires to avoid. This would tend to postpone the solution, which surely is contrary to the desires of the United States.

Chile considers that in thus manifesting the pleasure which she would experience if, in this case and for the reasons cited, the United States should avoid taking charge of dealings which Peru wishes to turn over to her and which the United States could not have eluded of her own accord without appearing little friendly to Peru, she is performing an act friendly to the United States and facilitating a reply to Peru in harmony with the often repeated desires of the United States not to intervene in pending questions unless requested by both Chile and Peru.

Chile believes that a verbal answer to this question is more friendly and deferential to the United States. She would have adopted and will adopt towards any other friendly nation with which she desires, as in the case of the United States, to strengthen her relations, and from which Peru might solicit the same good offices, this identical attitude.

Foregoing is an accurate memorandum of what Minister for Foreign Affairs said and appears especially significant because Chile is going to subject inhabitants of Tacna-Arica to obligatory military service.

Minister for Foreign Affairs declares that Chile is going to finish the matter now.

  1. This note is printed as Inclosure 1 to Mr. Pierrepont’s No. 74 of April 5, post.