Mr. Dichman to Mr. Evarts.
Bogota , July 2, 1879. (Received August 7, 1879.)
Sir: During the last two weeks of the extra session of Congress, which body adjourned sine die on last Monday, the 30th of June, a law was enacted on the subject of the custody of the registers of foreign vessels in the ports of Colombia, a copy and translation of which are inclosed, and which I trust will be found a satisfactory general disposition of this long pending question.
In the examination of this, law, which is known as the law 40, of 1879, reforming the law 60, of 1875, I beg to invite reference to my dispatches No. 34, of January 15, 1879, and No. 62, of March 31, 1879, with incisures, as well as sections 4209, 4210, 4211, and 4309 Revised Statutes of [Page 290] the United States, and paragraphs 118 to 124, and forms 13 and 14 United States Consular Regulations.
It will be seen that the new Colombian law is substantially a translation of the law of the United States on the same subject.
The first article provides that the captain of a foreign merchant-vessel shall exhibit the papers of his ship to the collector of customs or inspector of the port, and deposit them immediately with the consul of his nation.
A question having been raised as to the meaning of the word “present,” used in the first article of the protocol, forwarded with my No. 34, it was determined to remove all doubt by using the word “exhibit” in the draft of the law.
I deem it but just to state in this connection that the president and the secretary of foreign relations lost no opportunity in prevailing on Congress to take the proper steps in this matter.
I am, &c.,