723.2515/2646: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Chile (Engert)


137. Your No. 285, October 6, 9 a.m. I have duly noted the remarks made to you by the Chilean Minister for Foreign Affairs, and I approve your action in declining to review the Foreign Office correspondence to which you referred. The advantage of your being in position to make inquiries of the Foreign Office, should it be thought advisable to do so, will not, however, be lost sight of. You may seek suitable moment to convey to Minister Huneeus in purely personal manner the following ideas: (1) that you are convinced that the Secretary of State wishes most earnestly to see early settlement of Tacna-Arica question on basis both practical and equitable which both Chile and Peru can honorably accept; (2) that the Secretary of State has undoubtedly made manifest this desire by continuance of his efforts for settlement of question notwithstanding note of June 18 from Chilean Ambassador terminating on part of Chile participation in direct negotiations; (3) that the Secretary of State has been holding conferences separately with Ambassador Cruchaga and Mr. Claro35 and with Ambassador Velarde and his counsel from time to time and is exerting every effort that lies within his power to find a common ground for settlement. You may add that the success or failure of arriving at a lasting and practical conclusion to this matter rests entirely with Chile and Peru; and that although you are convinced that the Secretary of State will continue to assist in the attempt to find a formula for settlement of the question, he reserves, as is natural, the right to use his best judgment on whether or not he will make a proposal to the two parties and also on formulation of the terms of proposal should he see fit to make it.

You may state further your conviction that a settlement of the question of Tacna-Arica is one which concerns not Chile and Peru alone but that it is one which interests all the nations of the Western Hemisphere and that the attention of the world is focused on question of whether or not two great American nations like Chile and Peru really desire to reach a lasting settlement of this protracted dispute along lines which are practical and equitable and in which calm counsel and reasoned judgment take the place of wholly selfish and sentimental desires.

Department wishes you to make a report by cable upon following points, without making specific inquiries of any particular persons: [Page 494] (1) the governmental and public opinion at this juncture on a settlement of Tacna-Arica question based on division of the territory, the Department of Tacna to be allotted Peru, a corridor including the Arica-La Paz railway to be allotted Bolivia, and the Department of Arica including Arica city to be allotted Chile with a leased strip in Arica including railroad to go to Bolivia along the lines of the Fiume plan;36 (2) “neutralization”, so-called, or the creation of a Free State; (3) sale of the disputed territory to Bolivia if that country could obtain the funds necessary; (4) your opinion of reaction in Chile to proposal along lines of (1), Chile to agree to lease entire city and port of Arica to Bolivia, upon signing an agreement with Peru, instead of only a small strip in the city.

  1. Samuel Claro Lastarria, Chilean agent in Washington in the Tacna-Arica arbitration.
  2. See article 4 of the Treaty of Rapallo, Nov. 12, 1920, between Italy and the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, and the agreement of Jan. 27, 1924, signed at Rome between the same powers, dividing the Fiume territory between them.