Mr. Hanna to Mr. Blaine.
Buenos Ayres, May 18, 1889. (Received June 22.)
Sir: Recurring again to the wholly insufficient and inefficient mail facilities between the United States and this country, I have the honor now to present some new truths in regard to the subject. The “Direct United States Mail Line,” as it is miscalled, is again, and recently more than usually so, the cause of very general and bitter complaint. The commercial community, especially, seems to suffer seriously by its numerous accidents and unexpected delays. Many of its number, exasperated by losses and disappointments and discouraged by promises of betterments which never come, are seeking relief by resort to the use of European mail lines.
England, France, Germany, and Italy, all have direct and rapid lines, some of them two or three. The direct mail service of the United States and Brazil Mail Steam-ship Company, upon which such general reliance has been had for the transportation of mails from our ports to South American countries, as matters now stand, is literally a delusion and a snare, a positive detriment to traders south of Rio, as it furnishes a source of reliance to them which oftener brings disappointment and misadventure than good results. The company itself, I am confident, is not to blame. Mr. Thurber and Captain Lachlan, its experienced and able managers, have doubtless done the best possible to be done with their many embarrassments, but they have constant troubles with the port of Rio—that cess-pool of the ocean. Yellow fever prevails there about three-fourths of the year, and gives rise to constant quarantine embarrassments of which there seems to be no end.
I can think of but two remedies for the evil—a direct line of ships, or the transmission of the mails by Europe.
The United States mail due at Rio April 23 has not, so far as we know, yet left that port, twenty-five days delayed already, with the future to determine how much longer it will be continued. This, in a degree, is a frequent occurrence, and of course, paralyzes all trade relations between New York and the most valuable ports of South America. All the rest of the commercial world, except the United States, seems to have discovered the great importance of the extreme South American States, just now undoubtedly one of the most interesting commercial attractions known anywhere.
I am, etc.,