Mr. Buchanan to Mr. Hay.
Panama , January 16, 1904 .
Sir: Referring to my No. 22 of the 9th instant, and to the copy of my note of the same date to this Government concerning what I thought might be done toward the lessening of contagious diseases hereabouts, I beg to inclose a translation of a note I have just received in reply from his excellency the minister for foreign affairs.
You will, I am sure, be gratified to note that my suggestions have been cordially met by this Government, and to learn that the junta on hygiene has already waited upon Doctor Pierce and requested that he give them his views and advice as to the steps they ought to take in the hospital of San Tomas, located in the center of this city, to improve its condition. There were two deaths in this hospital within the past forty-eight hours, both from yellow fever, and on Doctor Pierce reporting to me that no precautions of any kind were taken therein [Page 556] to prevent the spread of the disease, I immediately followed up the subject of my note by making the doctor’s observation the subject of a long personal talk with the members of the junta, the result being the step I have above spoken of as having been taken by the junta of hygiene.
For the Department’s information I inclose a copy of Doctor Pierce’s note to the medical junta, and beg to add that I have requested Consul-General Gudger and Doctor Pierce to follow things up closely here, and for the first to call the attention of the Government in my absence to any negligence or lack of care shown by the health authorities here in the matter of yellow fever especially.
I feel sure you will approve my action in this regard, as well as in that of assuring Doctor Pierce, as I have, that I felt certain Surgeon-General Wyman would be more than glad to have him answer every possible demand that might be made by the medical authorities here on his knowledge and assistance in the direction of preserving the public health here.
I also beg to inclose a copy of a note I am to-day sending to this Government with regard to the same general subject.
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Consul-General Gudger is very conversant with the subject of health here, and assures me that it will be a great pleasure for him to follow up the steps I have taken vigorously and promptly.
The subject is one of such importance that I trust every aid will be given him and Doctor Pierce in doing what can be done with the health authorities here toward checking any probability of yellow fever breaking out here.
I have, etc.,