723.2515/1817: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Consul at Arica ( Von Tresckow )


For Pershing: Department exceedingly disquieted over report of recent disturbances at Tacna, Deplorable as incident is, nevertheless it can not, in my opinion, properly be made basis for delivery at this stage of anything in nature of an ultimatum to effect that unless Chile adopts certain punitive and preventive measures the plebiscite must be abandoned. Obvious course is to place matter before Edwards with view to impressing upon him and, through him, Chilean Government the fact that responsibility for maintaining order in Tacna-Arica rests squarely upon Chile as power charged with administration of the territory.

Both Chile and Peru filed briefs here Saturday night. Chile abandons appeal as far as schedule of dates in resolution of December 9, [Page 274] 1925,84 is concerned, but Arbitrator is requested to deal with conditions and assumptions embodied in paragraphs 6 and 7 of the resolution and, in consequence, to pass upon powers of the Plebiscitary Commission. Other resolutions, although not specifically appealed from, may be incidentally involved and Arbitrator will possibly undertake in the Opinion (which it is hoped will be delivered at end of this week or beginning of next) to clarify situation by carefully delimiting status and powers of the Plebiscitary Commission as distinguished from those of Chile as the administrative authority carrying responsibility for maintaining order and governing provinces during period of the plebiscite. Some controversial points, such as question of when plebiscitary period begins may be cleared up by forthcoming Opinion. You will, I feel sure, appreciate vital importance of doing all that is possible to avoid precipitation of any new crisis in meantime.

  1. For text of resolution, see telegram, Jan. 15, to president of Plebiscitary Commission, p. 277.