723.2515/2521: Telegram

The Ambassador in Italy ( Fletcher ) to the Secretary of State


76. Señor Villegas, the Chilean Ambassador to Italy, who has just returned from Chile, has shown me a telegram to him from the Chilean Minister for Foreign Affairs which states that the Government of Chile has settled upon a solution of the Tacna-Arica question by which the territory in dispute will be ceded to Bolivia with compensation which will shortly be negotiated. The difficulty in arriving at this solution will be to obtain a similar disposition on part of Peru; and Villegas was asked to inform me with view to obtaining my interest in this solution, the failure of which would create a dangerous situation.34 Telegram concluded with statement that Chile desired and needed peace.

In reply to Ambassador Villegas’ request for my advice, I said that I thought the matter should be taken up without further delay. I stated in addition as my personal opinion that proposal of the Government of Chile should be clear and definite and that I believed the Secretary of State would not refuse to continue his efforts to reach a [Page 489] satisfactory settlement. Ambassador Villegas is telegraphing Chilean Government recommending that Department of State be approached with the proposition outlined above.

  1. Mr. Fletcher had been Minister to Chile from 1909–1914, and Ambassador from 1914–1916; he had also been chairman of the delegation of the United States to the 5th International Conference of American States held at Santiago, Chile, in 1923.