The Mexican Ambassador to the Secretary of State.

No. 130.]

Most Excellent Sir: Pursuant to special instructions from my government, that are set forth in the copy inclosed with this note, which will acquaint you with all the particulars of the matter therein dealt with, I have the honor to apply to you with a request that the proper measures be taken in the case by the Government of the United States and that you may be pleased to advise me of whatever decision may be reached, so that I may in turn report to the Government of Mexico.

Accept, etc.,

M. de Azpíroz.


The secretary of government, in an official letter numbered 6814, of the 26th of September last, makes the following statement:

“The chairman of the superior board of health writes the following to this department under date of the 22d instant:

“‘At the meeting held yesterday by this board an opinion of the counsel member of the corporation, here quoted, was approved: The counsel of the board has acquainted himself with the case that occurred at Progreso on the 13th day of July last in connection with the disinfection of the English steamer Atheniana by Dr. J. F. Harrison, a physician in the sanitary federal service, effected under such conditions that 80 bales of henequen were set on fire. By direction of the chairman of the board an inquiry was instituted, from which it appears that Mr. Harrison does, in the character above described, disinfect vessels clearing from Progreso for American ports, and while the said gentleman asserts that he only disinfects vessels when requested by the agents or masters, as there may be truth in the common report that unless disinfected by the said American physician vessels are not admitted into ports of the United States, the undersigned believes that the department of foreign relations should be fully apprised of the incident and send it a copy of the investigation conducted by the sanitary delegate to the end that such measures as may be appropriate be, if necessary, taken through the diplomatic channel.’”

This department has examined the case in the light of the fact that the Mexican Government never intended to admit American physicians into the national territory in an official capacity. This was made quite clear by the last quarantine decreed by the government of the State of Texas against Mexico on account of the yellow fever, and again when the American Government asked permission to have the disinfecting barge Sanator stationed in Vera Cruz for the disinfection of vessels clearing from that port for the United States. On that occasion the permission was refused because the said port possessed facilities for every kind of disinfection and because the Second International American Conference had declared that all matters pertaining to international sanitary police remained subject to the jurisdiction of each government within its own territory. Lastly, when Mr. Barlow, then consul-general of the United States at Mexico City, claimed that Doctor Cofer should be recognized in the federal district as the physician whose duty it was to issue bills of health to persons intending to visit the United States, Mr. Barlow could not carry his points and confined himself to issuing the said certificates personally, and instructed the consuls under his jurisdiction to do likewise. [Page 650] In the issuance of such certificates Mr. Barlow was assisted by two physicians who had no official character.

In view of the foregoing, I have the honor to communicate to you the above-quoted official dispatches in order that you bring the matter to the knowledge of the Department of State in the light of the precedents in the case to the end that appropriate measures be taken in the matter herein referred to.