Luis S. Crespo wrote for El Diario, August 10, 1927 – 1928:
The first territorial dismemberment
In the chronic of June 3, are referred the industrial and diplomatic history of the bases that was drafted in La Paz to celebrate the border treaty with Chile.
There we have seen Chile took advantage of the vanity of a bad president of Bolivia, a treaty ripped an irregular in shape and deeply detrimental to the interests of the country. Chile knew that Mariano Melgarejo was a national misfortunate for Bolivia, whom did not represent the opinion of the country and had no regular government conditions. [Chile] was morally obliged to respect and consider that misfortune and could not take advantage of it to make it more costly and damaging.
But they did, and missed the most trivial rules of decency and international probity.
The conclusion of the treaty
Received the “bases” by the Bolivian minister in Santiago and with the participation of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chile Alvaro Covarrubias and Bolivian diplomatic agent in that nation Juan Ramón Muñoz Cabrera, the first boundary treaty between the two nations is held, on August 10, 1866, and was president Mariano Melgarejo of Bolivia and for Chile José Joaquín Pérez.
The terms of the treaty
EI Article 1 of the treaty states that the 24th parallel of south latitude is the border between Chile and Bolivia, may exercise the first of these nations all acts of jurisdiction and sovereignty in the territory south of that parallel, and the second thing equal situated in the north. It was therefore stipulated that the grade 24 is Bolivian and Chilean 25.
Paragraphs 2 and 3 of the same article determined the need to establish the exact line of demarcation between the two countries, an operation that should be entrusted to a committee of experts.
Article 2 establishes the community for half of the products from the exploitation of guano, in the area between 23 and 25 degrees southern latitude, as well as export duties to be charged on the minerals extracted from the same territory. [and Bolivia lost what has been the greatest and primary source for Chilean wealth and development, the copper mines in Atacama!!!]
Article 3 The obligation to have entered from the port of Mejillones Bolivia, well served by establishing a custom, that would be the only tax office for the collection of guano products and export duties on metal ores. Chile’s government may appoint scrutineers to inspect customs entries and receive the share of this country; faculty would like the Government of Bolivia in the territory between grades 24 and 25.
The 1st article says: to be free of all export products of the territory between grades 24 and 25, which is to come out the port of Mejillones.
Article 5 states that the system of exploitation of minerals will be determined by agreement between the two countries in the way they deemed most convenient and expeditious.
By Article 6, the contracting republics undertake not to sell their rights to possession and control of the territory which are divided from each other by the treaty for another treaty, company or individual.
The Article 7 awards eighty thousand dollars to individuals who seriously exploited the Mejillones’ guano, whose operation efforts were suspended by operation of Chilean authorities in February 17, 1863.
Article 8 of the treaty sets the term of forty days or sooner, if possible, for ratification and exchange of ratifications.
What Bolivia lost with this treaty
Appreciating synthesis concluded a treaty on August 11, can not be deducted unless the assignment made without consultation Bolivia through grade 24, the inequality of each of its stipulations, humiliation of national sovereignty and the germ of endless discord were raised later.
Indeed, Article 1 of the treaty set, as we have just seen, the 24th parallel of south latitude as the border between Chile and Bolivia.
Until then, Bolivia, with good titles, showed their rights through grade 27 south latitude. Chile claimed rights without presenting titles through grade 23.
The compromise was the question just as determining the parallel limit 25 instead of 24, because both countries also lost two degrees.
Setting the 24th parallel, Bolivia lost three degrees, and Chile renounced claims to one degree.
Bolivia freely sacrificed three geographical degrees of latitude by three long. In all, an area of the coast to the Sierra equivalent of 210,000 square kilometers.
The first dismemberment of the national heritage!
Source: El Diario, August 10, 1927 – 1928.