No. 1.

Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Osborn.

No. 221.]

Sir: I inclose a copy of a letter from Mr. Scrymser, president of the Central and South American Telegraph Company, and observe that if you should find, on inquiry, that the use of your good offices in the case would tend to improve the telegraphic communication which the United States now enjoys with the Argentine Republic, you can act in this direction, but no action should be taken to prejudice the interests of American citizens, provided such interests exist and are exercised in a commendable manner.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 221.]

Mr. Scrymser to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

Dear Sir: I have the honor to inclose a form of contract which this company is desirous of arranging with the Argentine Republic, and have to request that you will instruct the American minister to the Argentine Republic to obtain from that Government its approval substantially in the form herewith inclosed.

I had the honor of addressing you in regard to the telegraph connections with Brazil via the Argentine Republic, November 24, 1883, and I regret to state that the monopoly then complained of still exists.

I inclose for your information a chart, and will explain that the cable between the city of Buenos Ayres and Montevideo is owned by an English company, which is in exclusive alliance with the cables laid to Portugal and England, and which you will note land at various places on the coast of Brazil. This cable originally had exclusive rights from the Argentine Republic, which have now expired, and the monopoly is only maintained through the rights obtained from Uruguay. The monopoly is so complete that although many messages are sent from Europe and from the United States to Brazil, via the lines of this company, not a single message is permitted to he returned via this company’s lines, thereby imposing upon all American telegrams the additional charge of fifty cents a word, which is the charge of the Atlantic cables from England to this country.

The Governments of the Argentine Republic and Brazil are both anxious for another outlet for their foreign telegrams independent of the European route, and politically and geographically there is every reason for the establishment of an independent line.

In past years your Department has done much to promote contracts of this nature. It was through the instructions of the Hon. William H. Seward to our minister in [Page 2] Spain that in 1865 the contract for the establishment of a cable connecting the United States with Cuba and other West India islands was obtained from the Government of Spain by the International Ocean Telegraph Company. Similar instructions and authority were given by the State Department to the Hon. James Watson Webb, American minister to Brazil, and on August 9, 1878, the Hon. Frederick W. Seward, Acting Secretary of State, informed me that instructions of a like nature had been sent to the Hon. Mr. Foster which I am pleased to state resulted in obtaining from the government of Mexico a contract which has enabled this and its connecting companies to establish telegraph communication with all the nations of Central and South America, excepting Brazil.

I therefore ask that your Department will forward to our minister in the Argentine Republic the necessary instructions to obtain from that Government the authority asked for.

On receipt of your answer to this application, I will send to our minister full instructions and the necessary power of attorney.

I have, &c.,