Mr. Hale to Mr. Hay.

No. 156.]

Sir: Referring to the Department’s unnumbered dispatch of August 19, 1903, instructing that inquiry be made of the Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Government whether permission would be granted to the United States Government to station at the ports of embarkation of this Empire officers of the United States Public Health and Marine-Hospital Service to make a medical inspection of all persons intending to emigrate to the United States, and thereby facilitate the enforcement of the immigration act of March 3, 1903, I have the honor to inform you that in reply to my note of September 2 last, the foreign office, in a note of recent date, states that it is not possible, in conformity with the existing regulations governing the practice of medicine in this country, to permit foreign sanitary officers not licensed (in Austria) to make such a medical inspection; but [Page 93]that the Austrian government is disposed, however, to permit American sanitary officials to be present at the medical inspections made by the Austrian authorities of all persons intending to emigrate to the United States and that they (our representatives) may on such occasions, if deemed necessary, express their opinions.

As will be seen from the reply above referred to (a copy of which, together with translation is inclosed herewith), the Austrian government asks a guaranty from the United States Government that in all cases where emigrants may embark after passing the required medical inspection on this side in the presence of an American sanitary official and with the consent of the latter, they will not later be refused admittance by the United States immigration authorities on the basis of the act of March 3, 1903, saving when the reason justifying such refusal has developed after the medical examination at the port of embarkation. Respecting which, as well as in regard to a more detailed statement as to the sphere of action which the United States Government wishes to have granted to its sanitary officers, the Austrian government awaits further correspondence.

As also will be seen from the inclosed note from the foreign office, the Hungarian government’s reply is on the same general lines as those of the Austrian government.

I have, etc.,

Chandler Hale,
[Inclosure.—Translation.]

Mr. Müller to the American Legation.

In the esteemed note, No. 21, of September 2 last, Mr. Chandler Hale, the chargé d’affaires, took occasion to ask whether permission would be granted to the Government of the United States to station at the ports of emigration of the Monarchy officers of the American Public Health and Marine-Hospital Service, whose duty would be to make a medical inspection of all emigrants intending to go to the United States and thus facilitate the enforcement of the immigration act of March 3, 1903.

The ministry for foreign affairs has not failed to communicate this suggestion to the Imperial Austrian and the Royal Hungarian Governments and now begs to inform the embassy of the United States of America of the replies received in answer thereto.

The Austrian Government, which has itself a great interest in preventing emigrants afflicted with loathsome or dangerous contagious diseases from going to the United States by the regularly established emigrant ships, fully appreciates the endeavor of the American Government to enforce the law above referred to in so far as it is its intention to prevent all such persons—viz, those falling within the sanitary regulations—from entering the country, and is, in principle, disposed to do its utmost to cooperate in this endeavor in Austrian territory. The Austrian Government is intending, on the regular emigrant steamship service under its control between the ports of Austria and the United States, to arrange regulations such as will guarantee the careful medical inspection of all emigrants prior to embarkation. It is not possible, however, in conformity with the existing regulations governing the practice of medicine in this country, to permit foreign sanitary officers, not licensed (in Austria), to make such a medical inspection.

The Austrian Government is disposed, however, to admit the presence of American sanitary officials at such medical inspections, undertaken in accordance with the provisions above referred to, and that they may on such occasions, if deemed necessary, express their opinions. This government would be the more willing to comply with the suggestion above referred to, if the American Government could see its way to guarantee that all emigrants who may embark [Page 94]after medical inspection in the presence of an American sanitary officer and with the consent of the latter will not later be refused admittance by the American immigration authorities, despite of such inspection, on the basis of the section of the law above referred, saving in cases when the reason justifying such refusal has developed after the medical examination made at the port of embarkation. Respecting which, as well as in regard to a more detailed statement as to the sphere of action which the American Government wishes to have granted to its sanitary officers, in conformity with the suggestion above referred to, the Austrian Government awaits further correspondence.

The Royal Hungarian Government is also of the opinion that it is not possible to permit American health officers to act in their medical capacity at the port of Fiume.

But, owing to the purpose which the Government of the United States has in view, the Hungarian Government is likewise willing to comply with its wishes in so far as possible. In this respect it issued, on July 21, 1903, a circular regulation, in which the attention of all the municipalities of the country was called to the regulations of the law of March 3, 1903, restricting immigration, at the same time instructing them to publish the said regulation and make it known that the issuance of passports was forbidden to persons who, in conformity with the provisions of the said law, would not be allowed to enter the territories of the United States.

By another ordinance, which is already in force and which regulates the medical inspection of emigrants and the ships’ crews, the exclusion of sick persons, the embarkation and the moral and hygienic protection of the said emigrants, a special official physician has been appointed to supervise the emigration sanitary inspection service, who has received strict instructions based on the regulations of the American immigration law.

How strictly the Hungarian officials have adhered to the regulations of these ordinances will be seen from the fact that out of 8,770 emigrants leaving Hungary since November 14, 1903, of whom 5,814 embarked at Fiume and went to the United States on nine ships, and 2,956 by way of Antwerp and Liverpool, but 15 persons—viz, not quite 0.02 per cent—were not allowed to land by the immigration officials of the United States of America, and the majority of these were not detained on sanitary grounds, but for other reasons, which proportion may be considered quite satisfactory.

As an example of how strictly the regulations (above referred to) have been adhered to, we may mention that as the result of medical inspection before embarking from Fiume the following number, intending to emigrate, were detained: 142 persons by Carpathia, on April 19, 1904; 36 persons by Ultonia, on May 3, 1904; 179 persons by Slavonia, on May 18, 1904, and it is certain that if the performance of this service were intrusted to health officers of the United States of America it could not be more rigorously and carefully undertaken.

But in order to give further proof of its readiness to comply with the wishes of the Government of the United States, the Hungarian Government has willingly agreed that a medical officer attached to the American consular agency at Fiume may be present at the embarkation of emigrants and at the medical inspection taking place prior thereto, who, as a matter of course, would not be impowered to influence or to hinder the Hungarian officials in the discharge of their duty.

For the minister.
Müller.