to Mr. Roberts.
Washington, April 17, 1888.
Sir: Representation having been made by our chargé at Bogota that the Colombian Government has entirely closed the isthmian ports of the Pacific to vessels coming from Chili, owing to fear of infection by cholera, thus prohibiting the passage of the mails, and several complaints on this subject having come from your legation, the matter has been brought to the attention of the Postmaster-General.
His views are substantially that, while this is the first instance known of an absolute exclusion of the mails as a sanitary measure, yet, inasmuch as the ordinary precautions of disinfection, etc., have never proved entirely effective in preventing the spread of cholera, he considers that, despite the inconvenience caused by the action of the Colombian Government, we shall have no tenable ground of complaint if the ports are opened as soon as the danger of infection ceases.
This Department is, however, disposed to regard the Colombian measures as extreme and at variance with international usage, not to speak of the transit question involved.
Your telegraphic dispatch asking that mails for your legation be sent via England has been transmitted to the Post-Office Department, but the Department has as yet received no reply. We are informed that, at present, they are being forwarded via Buenos Ayres, increasing the time of transmission by about five days.
I am, etc.,