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United States Department of State / Index to the executive documents of the House of Representatives for the second session of the fiftieth Congress, 1888-'90
(1888-1889)

Chili [Chile],   pp. 172-198 PDF (10.6 MB)


Page 195


Congress, as required by the constitution. There was but one month
remaining of the time in which it had to be ratified.
   Scarcely had the discussion in Congress commenced when a rupture
 occurred in the cabinet. Seior Zafiartu, minister of interior, resigned
 in consequence of some misunderstanding with the President. Within
 a few days the entire cabinet retired from office, and a few weeks more
 passed before a new cabinet was announced.
   In the meantime the proposed amendment to the constitution was
 abandoned for the present. It is said that, in consideration of this,
 the church will reconsecrate the cemeteries and recognize the civil mar-
 riage laws.
   As soon as I received official notice of the appointment of the new
 cabinet from Seior Demetrio Lastarria, the minister of foreign rela-
 tions, I called-to pay my respects, but he not being in his office, I then
 called upon President Balmaceda, who, received me very cordially, as
 usual. I was accompanied by the secretary of legation, and Sefior
 Quadra, minister of interior, was with the President and remained dur-
 ing the interview.
   After some general conversation I said: "Mr. President, I called
to
 ay y my respects to the new minister of exterior, SeTaor Lastarria, at
 whose appointment I am very much gratified, but was not fortunate in
 finding him in his office. My intention was to have a conversation with
 him on the subject of the claims of American citizens resulting from
 the war with Peru. It was also my intention to mention the matter to
 your excellency, in order that you might learn directly the views of my
 (Povernment, with the hope that the minister may be prepared to dis-
 cuss the matter fully when I should have the honor to call on him for
 that purpose.
   "1 The administration of President Cleveland," I said, "Ihas
abstained
from presenting these claims for consideration, from a desire not to em-
barrass the Government of Chili while negotiations were pending with
European Governments for the settlement of similar claims, but now
that these have terminated by settlement, my Governnent, naturally
solicitous for the interest of its citizens, who for some time have been
pressing their claims upon its attention, would like to negotiate for the
appointment of a commission for their adjustment, believing also that
such a settlement would promote the good relations existing between
the two Governments."
  The President replied that he was very glad to hear what I said, but
that tribunals were a very expensive means of settlement. I replied
that I did not see how a convention for the settlement of our claims
could be very costly; that our claims were few, and the gross amount
was not large; the questions that would necessarily arise in their ad-
justment were not likely to lead to protracted discussion, and that for
many reasons;, which doubtless the President could well understand,
my Government preferred to settle them through a convention.
  The President again repeated, "1Tribunals are very costly."
  I said: "Mr. President, I hope before I leave Chili to be instrumental
in settling all questions in dispute between the United States and Chili
so that there will be no questions pending which could possibly inter!
fere with the continuance of the most cordial and friendly relations be-
tween the two countries." To which he replied that he hoped it would
be so.
      I have, etc.,
                                           WILLIAM R. RiOBE3RTS,
19-5
CHII.


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