Mr. Lord to Mr. Hay.

No. 161.]

Sir: I have the honor to confirm your telegrama of the 21st ultimo, and to inform you that, immediately upon its receipt, I called upon the minister of war, Col. Pablo Kiccheri, and stated to him the substance of your cablegram, and inquired whether, in view of the nature of their services, the Argentine Government would exempt such operators of the Central and South American Telegraph Company from the conscription of men born in 1878 and 1879. The minister expressed the opinion that he did not think such exemption could be granted under the present law. He then stated in substance, after examining the law, that it was not possible to do so under any of the exemption clauses. I asked him if there was not some general clause investing the Government with the power to exempt in particular cases which could not be classified under exemption heads, and he answered that the clause under which such exemptions were formerly authorized was omitted from the present law on account of the abuses which had grown out of it. He expressed much regret that he was unable to be of service in the matter, and a willingness to render any aid in his power by way of leaves of absence to such operators to remain at their offices.

To-day I called at the ministry of war office to inquire with reference to the zones in the territory of the Republic to which the mobilization of the conscripts of 1878 and 1879 applied, and I was informed that such mobilization had been postponed until the 6th of March next. In view of the present peaceful solution of recent difficulties between the Argentine Republic and Chile, it is possible that such mobilization may be abandoned or indefinitely postponed.

I also confirm my telegrama of the 23d ultimo in reply to yours of the 21st, above referred to.

I have, etc.,

Wm. P. Lord.
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