No. 119.
Mr. Roberts to Mr. Bayard.

No. 112.]

Sir: You are doubtless fully informed of the ravages made by Asiatic cholera in the Argentine Republic.

Its proximity has caused great alarm here, and this Government has taken extraordinary precautions to prevent its introduction into Chili. All intercourse between the two countries is prohibited, and a sanitary cordon of troops has been established at all the known passes of the Andes, and no vessels that touch at an Argentine port are permitted to enter a Chilian one.

A member of the Chamber of Deputies, who was in the Argentine when the decree of prohibition was issued, escaped the guards and came to Santiago to attend the Congress. He was at once arrested and lodged in the common jail. An extra session of the Chamber was called and resolutions passed depriving him of his privilege of exemption from arrest and trial, and giving the criminal court authority to try him for violation of the sanitary proclamation of the Government.

On the 21st instant I received a note from the minister of exterior requesting me to call upon him that day. I did so at once, and found that he desired to consult with me as to an inquiry made to the Chilian consul at Montevideo by the commander of the United States vessel of war Juniata, then stationed at Maldonado, a port in the Argentine, to know if in case he should remain, two weeks at Sandy Point (Punta Arenas), he would be permitted to enter other Chilian ports afterwards. The minister remarked to me that in view of the great danger that threatened the lives of their people, the great alarm in the public mind, and the strictness of their sanitary arrangements, it would be impossible to allow the Juniata to come to Punta Arenas without some previous quarantine; that he had consulted with the President, who advised him to consult with me at once. I asked him what he proposed. He said that if the Juniata would remain for two weeks at the Falkland Islands, and in case no epidemic occurred on board, she could then visit Punta [Page 153] Arenas and remain for two weeks more, when, if she showed a clean bill of health, she could afterwards enter any port in Chili.

I considered this proposition a very fair and just one, and at once accompanied his dispatch to the consul with one to the commander, in care of the consul, which read as follows:

Admit two weeks quarantine at Falkland Islands, and also two weeks at Sandy Point; precautions in Chili very strict and positive, and alarm in regard to cholera great and universal.

The minister expressed himself as much gratified at my prompt action, and I am happy to say the commander at once acted upon my suggestion.

I have, etc.,

William R. Roberts.