Mr. Hay to Mr. Squiers.

No. 418.]

Sir: Referring to Nos. 1101, of October 22, and 1104, of October 28, from your legation, all indicating deterioration in the sanitary condition of certain Cuban ports and districts, and referring also to [Page 251]the Department’s No. 206, of April 13, 1903,a I inclose for your information copy of a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury.

You will point out to the Cuban Government in unmistakable terms that, unless some efficient system of insuring good sanitary conditions for the cities of Matanzas and Santiago shall be carried out before the beginning of the active quarantine season of the coming year, it may and will probably become necessary for this Government to declare quarantine against Cuban ports.

The reports received by this Government from its consular officers and the officers of the Public Health and Marine-Hospital Service indicate that the sanitary condition of the island is worse than last year, and that the state of affairs is most serious.

I am, etc.,

John Hay.
[Inclosure.]

Mr. Shaw to Mr. Hay.

Sir: Referring to your letter of October 31, 1004, inclosing copy of a dispatch from the American chargé d’affaires at Habana, and transmitting copy of a confidential communication, with inclosures, received from the vice-consul at Matanzas, Cuba, reporting on the unfavorable sanitary conditions of that city, also to your letter of November 11, 1904, inclosing a copy of a dispatch from the legation at Habana in regard to an alleged case of yellow fever at Santiago, stating that the authorities at Santiago are not capable of handling the matter of sanitation, and that the consul at that place reported that the authorities were well disposed in the matter but did not have enough money to clean the streets of the rubbish, I have the honor to inform you that these papers were transmitted to the Surgeon-General of the United States Public Health and Marine-Hospital Service for his information and consideration.

Your attention is invited to letter from this Department, under date of April 7, 1903, on the same subject, in which it was stated that the Surgeon-General had received a demand from the authorities of Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama for the disinfection of all vessels leaving Cuban ports for ports in the Southern States during the active quarantine season from April to November, 1903.

It was, therefore, urged that the matter be brought promptly to the attention of the sanitary authorities of Cuba in order that quarantine measures, vexatious and expensive, might not be required to be enforced by the United States authorities.

Under instructions from your Department, the American minister at Habana took up the matter with the Cuban authorities, and some efforts seem to have been made to better the insanitary state of affairs at Santiago. I am informed by the Surgeon-General that within the last few weeks two cases of yellow fever have occurred in Punta Sal, a suburb of Santiago, and that the medical officer of this service on duty there, in his reports, agrees with those made by the American consul regarding the bad sanitary condition of the city.

I have the honor to request that a strong statement be made to the Cuban authorities, through the proper diplomatic channels, that unless some efficient system of insuring good sanitary conditions for the cities of Matanzas and Santiago be carried out before the beginning of the active quarantine season of the coming year it may become necessary, as stated in letter on the same subject, dated April 7, 1903, quoted above, to declare quarantine against Cuban ports. The urgent necessity for such action is very apparent when it is considered that sanitary matters in the two cities named above, according [Page 252]to reports both from the consular officers and the officers of the Public Health and Marine-Hospital Service, is worse than last year and the state of affairs is most serious.

Respectfully,

L. M. Shaw, Secretary.
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