The Chargé in Chile (Engert) to the Secretary of State
[Received 8:20 p.m.]
285. The Minister for Foreign Affairs said he wished to speak to me with utter frankness in reference to Tacna-Arica, as he felt that nothing could be gained by mincing matters. He said he had never been as discouraged as he is now after so many weeks of fruitless conversations at Washington. He was most grateful to you for all you have done and he said that if it were a matter of dealing with you alone an accord would have been reached long ago; but he feared that you underestimated the adamant and unbending attitude of the [Page 490] other contending party. Whether rightly or not, Peru felt that she had been completely vindicated and as long as strong expressions of Peru’s moral triumph continued to emanate from the highest official personages there was little hope that Peru would accept a reasonable solution. …
The Minister dwelt upon his sincere personal desire, which, he said, was shared by entire Chilean Government, to show most conciliatory spirit possible short of accepting humiliating conditions. Although the fact that all his efforts had so far been unavailing was a great disappointment to him, he had not yet given up hope; but he thought that it was essential that you convey a pointed hint to Lima that it still lay within Arbitrator’s power to reverse Peru’s present advantage.
The Minister concluded by inviting me seriously to go over his entire correspondence and that of his predecessor, Mr. Mathieu, with Chilean Ambassador at Washington since last June and to point out to him anything which I thought to be unfair or unreasonable and to make any other observations I might wish to make. I declined to do so, of course, on ground that I had only recently familiarized myself with this involved problem and that in consequence I should hardly be in position to make suggestions of value. I do think, however, that if you should desire information on Cruchaga’s instructions or reports at any given moment during the negotiations I could, perhaps, take advantage of the Minister’s offer to extent of asking specific questions without giving, necessarily, origin of the inquiry.