to Mr. Blaine.
Berne, April 8, 1881. (Received April 23.)
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.,