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Mr. Wu to Mr. Hay. No. 200.]


Washington, December 26, 1900. Sir: Since my note of the 30th ultimo, in which I called your attention to the case of the student Yip Wah, I have received from the imperial consul-general and from reputable Chinese merchants in San Francisco such urgent complaints that I feel it my regrettable duty to again address you on the subject of the manner in which the immigration laws of Congress are being enforced against Chinese subjects.

They represent, what I set forth in my note of the 30th ultimo, that under the rulings of the authorities of the port of San Francisco Chinese students holding certificates in conformity to the treaty and law of Congress are virtually debarred from entering the United States, it being held by the said authorities that such students must come here with a knowledge of the English language and with an education that will permit them to forthwith enter a college or take up an advanced professional course of study.

They further represent that under the act of November 3, 1893, the Government of the United States issued certificates of residence to a large number of Chinese persons, not laborers-merchants and others—and that the rights acquired under these certificates are being entirely ignored. Holders of such certificates desiring to make a temporary visit to China are denied the privilege, and persons who have departed holding such certificates are denied the privilege of reentering the United States.

They state that merchants returning to San Francisco after a temporary visit to China are often imprisoned in the detention dock for weeks and months pending their landing. Their Caucasian witnesses are put to all sorts of inconveniences and annoyances and treated with suspicion and discourtesy. When present to sign identification papers they are compelled to await the pleasure of the Chinese bureau for examination, and are plied with all sorts of immaterial questions from an inspector, who assumes the character of an inquisitor. The result of this is that it is now very difficult for Chinese desiring to visit their native land to obtain the necessary signatures for their identification papers, thus causing them untold mental and financial suffering.

They report that it has been heretofore the custom in San Francisco for years to allow the attorney for the persons desiring to enter the United States to be present at the Chinese bureau pending the taking of evidence on their behalf, thus affording a protection to the Chinese applicants and operating as a restraint upon overzealous subordinate officials. It has just been ordered by the port authorities that henceforth no attorneys shall be allowed to be present at the taking of such testimony, or of any testimony on behalf of Chinese desiring to enter that port. They assert that this action makes the immigration inspector, whose avowed policy is to cause the return to China of every Chinese he possibly can, the master of the situation and throws all Chinese applicants at his feet.

Your note of the 8th instant contains the reasons of the Treasury Department for its actions. But it does not seem to me to be just that these Chinese subjects, who are ignorant of the law, of the language, and the customs of this country, should be deprived of the benefit of counsel and placed entirely at the mercy of inquisitors, who, I regret to say, are generally unfriendly if not positively hostile to them.

I beg to say that I was aware of the law which is quoted in your note of the 5th instant, when I suggested the interposition of the President of the United States, but I am advised that it can hardly be interpreted as a prohibition against the exercise by that supreme official of the nation of his influence with one of his own Secretaries, if he was convinced, upon examination of the facts, that a solemn treaty guaranty was being violated and a great wrong being done to subjects of a friendly Government. I am further advised that it was not the intent of Congress, by the act cited, to take from the President the duty, which I have understood was imposed on him by your great and wise Constitution, to take care that the laws be faithfully executed," and by the same instrument the treaties with foreign nations are declared to be “the supreme law of the land." I feel persuaded that if you will lay the questions presented in the present note and that of the 30th ultimo before the President he will be inspired by his high sense of justice to induce the honorable Secretary of the Treasury to revise the decisions which have been made by the official of his Department, or that he will at least submit the questions to the Attorney-General for a construction of the treaty and the laws depending thereon. Accept, etc.,


Mr. lay to Mr. Wu.


No. 168. ]


Washington, January 14, 1901. Sir: Referring to your note, No. 199, of November 30 last, calling attention to the case of Yip Wah, a Chinese subject, claiming to be a student, whose right to remain in the United States is denied by the collector of customs at San Francisco, and referring also to that part of the Department's note in reply, No. 163, of the 5th ultimo, in which you were informed that the substance of your note had been communicated to the Secretary of the Treasury for his consideration, I have the honor to inform you that the Department is in receipt of a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury dated the 10th ultimo, in which, after expressing his regret, in which regret this Department shares, that the action of the Treasury Department in the case does not meet with your views, he says that that Department does not feel that it could with propriety or in accordance with law modify or reverse the decisions complained of. Accept, etc.,

John Hay.

Mr. Hay to Mr. Wu.

No. 169.]


Washington, March 2, 1901. Sir: Referring to your note, No. 200, of December 26 last, complaining of the manner in which the Chinese-exclusion laws are enforced at San Francisco, I have the honor to inform you that the Department is in receipt of a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury, dated the 12th ultimo, inclosing for the Department's information a copy of a report received from the collector of customs at San Fran

FR 1901-15

cisco on the subject, together with a copy of a report from the Chinese inspector in charge at that place.

The collector says:

I do not understand that there is now any basis for the contention that unreasonable delay is occasioned in the hearing of these cases. Heretofore, where the evidence was presented through attorneys, in many instances the continuances have been granted at the request of such attorneys. Now, however, the Government proceeds upon its own initiative, and through the Chinese bureau, to inquire into the status of each particular case as it presents itself. All reasonable efforts are made to expedite these hearings, and I believe that you will find that at the present time (February 1, 1901), and in the future, there has been and will be no unreasonable postponement in deciding any of these cases.

As to the complaint of discourtesy, etc., the Chinese inspector in charge asks that you be requested to prefer the charge in form so specific that a thorough investigation will be required, and that his office may be relieved of any officer found guilty upon such charges, a request which I now have the honor to make. Accept, etc.,

John Hay.

Mr. Wu to Mr. Ilay.

No. 203.]


Washington, April 11, 1901. Sir: In your note of the 2d ultimo, in which you did me the honor to reply to my notes respecting the conduct of the customs inspectors and other officials of your Government at San Francisco in the enforcement of the Chinese immigration treaty and laws, you ask for more specific information on the subject, in order that their conduct may be investigated.

The charge in my note of December 26 last was that the inspectors were generally unfriendly, if not positively hostile, to all Chinese subjects applying for admission to the United States. In my note of November 30 last I alleged that the subordinate Treasury officials distort the language and defeat the plain intent of the treaty. I respectfully submit that the facts communicated in the notes cited, as well as others of previous dates, fully sustain the charges made, and afford sufficient data to enable the Treasury Department to correct the conduct of the officials mentioned. However, in order to comply with the request contained in your note of the 2d ultimo, I asked of the imperial consul-general in San Francisco further details, and I copy herewith from his report:

Tang Shi Tak, who arrived here on the steamer America Maru. December 22, 1900, ticket No. 34, applied for landing at this port as a teacher, presenting a section 6 certificate issued by the Government at Hongkong. He was denied landing. It appears that he stated that he came here for the purpose of engaging in his profession as a teacher; that a certain firm in this city, giving its name, had secured for him a number of pupils. The Chinese inspector interviewed the firm referred to and they stated that they had secured for this applicant a number of pupils, giving their names and the names of their parents. The inspector interviewed the various persons named and found the statement to be true, excepting that the name of one person could not be found at the address given, and the inspector so reported. He did not, however, report that as regards the other names mentioned the statements were correct. For that reason the case was denied.

Yee Sang, a returning Salinas merchant, arriving here on the steamer Doric, February 1, ticket No. 81, applied for admission at this port after an absence of about

one year. He was denied landing. It appeared from his statement that he had been engaged in mercantile business for a number of years and that his business had been closed out; that he thereupon took an office and conducted the business of the defunct firm, collecting their debts and settling up their liabilities for a period of about a year. He then reengaged in business and continued in the second business for about nine months prior to his leaving for China. Proof was introduced by white witnesses that the man had been a merchant for a great many years prior to his departure for China, and the testimony of the white witnesses complied in all respects with the requirements of the Department.

In the case of Cheong In, No. 5, steamer Nippon Maru, November 12, 1900, the applicants presented two section 6 certificates, which certificates were issued by the Government in Hongkong, in due form of law and properly viséed. They presented these certificates at this port and demanded to be landed by reason thereof. The cases were investigated by the customs officials and no statements contained in the certificates were in any way controverted. It appears that the inspector reported that neither of these parties had any money about their person, and for that reason they were denied landing at this port. It did, however, appear from the investigation of the case and the report of the customs officials that certain responsible firms in this city were indebte to the firms of which these applicants were members in China, and that upon the landing of these applicants they would collect this money and would use it, among other purposes, for engaging in business in this city. The amount was considerable, and the stores, upon being interrogated by the Chinese inspectors, corroborated the statements in every particular. The law does not require that a Chinese person seeking admission at this port should be supplied with any particular amount of money, and while it might be argued that a person arriving here without means of any kind could not well be called a merchant, that does not appear in this case, as these applicants had a credit here, or, in other words, responsible firms in this city were indebted to them in various amounts of money.

In the case of Woo Chung, No. 10, steamer Coptic, December 14, 1900, this applicant also presented a section 6 certificate duly issued by the Government at Hongkong and claimed to be a merchant and a member of the exempt class. No fact in his certificate was controverted by the Government officials. In his statement he claimed that what money he needed in this country for the purpose of going into business would be furnished him by a certain firm in this city. That firm was interrogated and corroborated the statement of the applicant, and at the request of the then acting collector of this port the amount of money which the applicant claimed he needed was by the firm placed in the form of a certificate of deposit and'exhibited to the collector, who expressed himself as fully satisfied with the case and that the applicant was what he claimed to be. This was a day or two before the expiration of the term of office of the then acting collector, and when the matter was brought up again before the present collector upon a recommendation of Mr. Dunn in this case it was denied, following the recommendations of Mr. Dunn in all cases, good, bad, and indifferent.

Cases similar to these could be repeated as long as one had patience to listen to them; but these seem to me fair examples of returning merchants and section 6 cases merchants who have been unlawfully denied admission at this port.

I trust that the foregoing additional facts may be brought to the attention of the honorable Secretary of the Treasury, in the hope that he will issue such instructions as will bring about a more rational and exact compliance with the letter and spirit of the treaty stipulations entered into between the two Governments. Accept, etc.,


Mr. Hay to Mr. Wu. No. 172.]


Washington, April 15, 1901. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note No. 203, of the 11th instant, in further relation to your complaint concerning the enforcement of the Chinese exclusion laws at San Francisco and giving details of cases of discourtesy, etc., on the part of the office of the Chinese inspector at that place.

In reply I have the honor to inform you that a copy of your note has been sent to the Secretary of the Treasury for his information. Accept, etc.,


Mr. Tay to Mr. Wu.

No. 173.]


Washington, April 23, 1901. Sir: Referring to your note No. 203, of the 11th instant, in which you quote from a communication of the Chinese consul-general at San Francisco reports of certain cases in which it is charged that the United States officials at that place, upon whom devolves the duty of enforcing the Chinese exclusion laws, have been guilty of improperly refusing admission to Chinese immigrants, I have the honor to inform you that the Department is in receipt of a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury, dated the 17th instant, in which he says:

The Department finds, upon reference to its files, that each and all of the cases cited by the Imperial consul-general to sustain the charges referred to were appealed to this Department, and, after a careful review of the evidence transmitted therewith, the action of the said officers was sustained, except in one instance, that of Tang Shai Tak, whose claim to be a teacher, and therefore within the exceptions provided for by the convention of December 8, 1894, was duly allowed, and he was therefore permitted to land.

The Department is of course not aware of what information the Imperial consulgeneral may have in his possession bearing upon the charge of impropriety on the part of the officials at San Francisco, but inasmuch as his letter, extracts from which are contained in the note of the Chinese minister, shows simply that in his judgment they had acted in disregard of the preponderance of evidence, and charges nothing against them other than that, their action in that respect does not appear to require further investigation, since it was ratified as above stated. Mistake or prejudice on the part of the said officials, if such is shown, may always be corrected by appeal, when each case will be reviewed and decided upon its merits. Accept, etc.,



Mr. Wu to Mr. May.

No. 214.]


Washington, November 28, 1901. Sir: I am informed by the Chinese consul at Honolulu that the collector of customs at that port has refused permission to a Chinese student to land for the purpose of pursuing an education. The person so refused is reported to me to be a boy aged 15 years, Tong Tseng, who arrived at Honolulu by the steamer Gaelic on October 21, bearing with him a proper certificate, issued to him by the British Government of Hongkong and viséed by the United States consul-general at that port. His application for permission to land was rejected by the collector of Honolulu, as I am informed, not because his certificate was not properly made out or that he was not a student, but because when questioned the boy answered that his purpose in coming to Honolulu was to pursue his studies at the Chinese-American school. His friends and the American principal of the school interested themselves on his

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