Mr. Roberts to Mr. Bayard.
Santiago, November 11, 1887. (Received January 4.)
Sir: Cholera has again made its appearance in Santiago. For the week ending November 5 forty cases were reported as proving fatal, nineteen on yesterday and fourteen the day previous.
It has extended to the south of Chili during the winter months, and has been particularly severe in some sections.
It is the general impression that it will prove as destructive to life in Santiago and its environs as it was last summer, though the Government and people are much better prepared to meet it in a sanitary point of view.
It is quite possible that our commerce and mails by way of Panama may be again obstructed in consequence. The chargé d’affaires of Colombia notified the Chilian Government on the 8th instant that his Government would not permit vessels from Chili to enter her ports for the present So long as Peru keeps her ports open the mails will be sent there, and from thence to Panama; but should Peru follow the example of Colombia, and in all probability she will, then the South [Page 179] Pacific will again be closed to our commerce, our mails, and our travelers.
Whatever justification Peru may have for closing her ports, Panama in my opinion has none. It takes twenty days for a mail steamer to reach Panama from Valparaiso; if there was infection on board it would show itself during the trip, and the vessel could very properly be quarantined or refused admittance; if there was not, and the vessel could show a clean bill of health, then she should be permitted to enter port.
I have, etc.,