Mr. Scruggs to Mr. Bayard .
Bogota , October 2, 1885. (Received November 13.)
Sir: I inclose herewith (in copy and translation) an executive decree, No. 636, establishing custom-houses at the ports of Panama and Colon. I also inclose an English translation of article 8 of law 53 of 1884, and of articles 41, 42, 47, and 48 of the fiscal code to which it refers.
Informally I have expressed to Dr. Restrepo, secretary for foreign affairs, my apprehensions that this measure will seriously interfere with the freedom of the isthmian transit; and informally he has expressed to me his concurrence in this opinion, adding that he had been overruled by the President and cabinet.
My British colleague, with whom I have spoken on the subject, entertains the same fears and will write to his Government accordingly.
While thus referring the matter, I shall in all probability, pending the arrival of your instructions, venture on my own responsibility to try to dissuade the President from putting his decree into operation.
I have, &c.,