No. 687.
Mr. Fish to Mr. Blaine.

[Extract.]
No. 386.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your telegram of the 5th instant, which reached me shortly before midnight of the same day, and which reads as follows: “Fridolina Vögelin and Theresa Lauser (sic) willingly returned to Switzerland, March 31st by Lessing.” I took for granted that “Lauser” should read “Hauser.”

On the 6th instant I addressed a note to this government, informing them of the return of the two women in question; that the consulate at Basle had been unable to ascertain whether the government of Argovie had taken any steps to secure their return, although the consul had asked by telegraph for such information.

I expressed a desire to be informed of what punishment may be inflicted on the persons guilty of this unfriendly act, and that I entertained the—

Confident belief that the Federal Council will insist upon a punishment the severity of which shall correspond with the enormity and aggravated circumstances of the present case.

I have also expressed my readiness to inform you what measures the Federal Council may have taken to prevent a recurrence of such action on the part of the communes of this country.

I thought it advisable in view of article 10, section 4, of the new Swiss law on emigration (see my No. 328) to bring the tenor of § 241 of the Consular Regulations to their notice. * * *

The Swiss press is, as far as I can see, loud in its condemnation of the Böttstein commune, and in many of the papers the officials will be ridiculed. The “Intelligenz Blatt” suggests that we should sue the commune for our costs. I most strongly recommend that we ask for damages from the Federal Government.

* * * * * * *

I send you a collection of extracts from the Swiss press with translations thereof, and respectfully suggest that they be given to our press [Page 1133]as soon as possible. I regret the impossibility of recopying the translations, but in the absence of a clerk I am unable to find time to do so.

I have sent you as printed matter by this mail copies of the newspapers from which the extracts are taken.

I have, &c.,

NICHOLAS FISH.
[Inclosure in No. 386.]

Mr. Fish to Mr. Droz.

The undersigned, chargé d’affaires of the United States of America, referring to his notes of March 23, 29, and 31, last, has the honor to inform the High Federal Council that the prostitutes sent to the United States by the commune of Böttstein, canton Argovie, on board the Suevia, reaching New York March 28, returned to Switzerland on board the Lessing, a vessel belonging to the same steamship company which left New York on March 31, last.

The undersigned is informed by the consulate at Basle, that it has been unable to ascertain whether or not the cantonal government of Argovie took any measures to secure the return of the women in question to their native commune, although the consulate asked by telegraph for such information.

The undersigned will be happy to inform his government what punishment may be inflicted on the persons guilty of this unfriendly act towards the United States, and he entertains the confident belief that the High Federal Council will insist upon a punishment, the severity of which shall correspond with the enormity and aggravated circumstances of the present case.

The undersigned will in like manner be happy to inform his government what measures the High Federal Council may have taken to prevent a recurrence of such action on the part of the communes of Switzerland.

The United States has seen with regret that in foreign countries municipal corporations, private societies for reforming offenders, directors of almshouses, and even private individuals have not been restrained by their governments from sending to the United States convicts or discharged convicts or lunatics, or paupers, or prostitutes, or cripples and persons unable to maintain themselves either from bodily or mental defects, or those who have been a social, moral, or criminal plague to the place whence they come, and where they properly belong. The diplomatic and consular officers of the” United States are instructed to exert an active vigilance to prevent the emigration of such emigrants to the United States, and the undersigned expresses the hope of his government that the High Federal Council will always facilitate the execution of its instructions to its diplomatic and consular officers on this subject.

The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to his excellency Mr. Droz, President of the Swiss Confederation, and to the High Federal Council, the assurances of his most distinguished consideration.

NICHOLAS FISH.