The Consul at Arica ( Von Tresckow ) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 21—12:40 a.m.]
- Your February 16, 6 p.m. I hope very much that the Department’s offer of its good offices may prove fruitful. No action I have so far taken prejudices negotiations proposed.
- In meantime it is most important for me to know immediately what the Department’s policy involves. Is it desired that I should push ahead actively with the plebiscite? To start registration on March 15 will require intensive effort by all concerned for every minute of time from now till then. Great deal depends on combined work of all three parties. The Department’s interposition may cause slackening in duties and I do not wish to press for action unless it is policy of the Department to do so. If we are really to go on with plebiscite I must take strong stand on the adoption of measures necessary to render conditions under which it takes place fair to both parties, such as the facilitating of entry of Peruvians from both Chile and Peru and protection [in the] territory, as otherwise we should be committing ourselves to a farce. On other hand, if I take that stand then friction will develop. If the Department has reasonable hope of successful negotiations, I think that it would be better to defer registration, avoid friction of every kind, and avoid getting registration boards scattered all over the country. If this opinion meets Department’s views, I suggest that you inform me officially that action on the pending appeal will not be taken until about 1st of March.
It is absolutely necessary, however, for me to make decision at once on line of action to be taken; and I request that I be informed without delay whether I should do everything possible and reasonable to have registration start on March 15 or whether a postponement to 1st of April would be more appropriate. Lassiter.