No. 106.
Mr. Holcombe to Mr. Evarts.

No. 104.]

Sir: In further reference to the refusal of the local officials at Chung King, in the province of Szchuen, to recognize certain transit passes for the export of native produce, issued at Hankow to Mr. M. A. Jenkins, and to my action in the premises, as narrated in my dispatches numbered 76 and 91, I now have the honor to hand to you a translation of a later dispatch, which has been received from his Imperial Highness, Prince Kung.

You will be pleased to see that the viceroy of Szchuen has promptly disapproved the action of his subordinates, and instructed them to allow Mr. Jenkins’s produce to proceed to its destination without further delay or interference.

I have requested Prince Kung to communicate the thanks of this legation to the viceroy, and have given the necessary information to our consul at Hankow.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 104.]

Prince Kung, chief secretary of state for foreign affairs, herewith makes a communication.

In the matter of the transit passes taken out by Mr. M. A. Jenkins, of Hankow, for the exportation of native produce from Szohuen, upon the 6th Deee nber last, I had the honor to receive a communication from you saying that in case action was deferred upon my part until my ins ructions had reached the several local authorities concerned, and their reports could be received by me, a further delay of six or seven mouths must ensue before the merchandise in question could be forwarded to its destination; and shortly after the receipt of that dispatch you called in person at the foreign office and urged that the viceroy of Szchuen be pressed to give the business immediate attention.

This office, upon your request, instructed the viceroy named above to give the necessary orders at once to the local authorities to straighten out this business without delay, and so informed you.

I am now in receipt of the Szchuen viceroy’s response, in which he informs me that he has received a report from Chin Kwei, the superintendent of the Lekin tax station at Kwei Chow, and his associate officers, stating that, in the past few years the Lekin tax station at Kwei Chow has suffered a loss of over 200,000 taels in each year from the exemption from tax given to foreign goo Is passing into the interior under transit certificates. Native produce passing out of the province is also covered by the certificates, [Page 212] and consequently the most valuable commodities of Szchuen pay dues at Ichang. The Kwei Chow office is not allowed to levy upon them, and the office seems to have been established for no purpose, &c.

The viceroy indorsed this statement, to the effect that goods both for import and export were protected with transit certificates, and in consequence the revenues of the Kwei Chow Lekin station were diminishing; there could be no doubt of this. But article 7 of the trade regulations attached to the treaty with the United States declares that “Produce purchased by a citizen of the United States in the interior will be inspected and taken account of at the first barrier it passes on its way to the port of shipment. A memorandum showing the amount of the produce and the port at which it is to be shipped will be deposited there by the person in charge of the produce; he will then receive a certificate, which must be exhibited and viséd at every barrier on his way to the port of shipment., On the arrival of the produce at the barrier nearest the port, notice must be given to the customs at the port, and the transit dues thereon being paid, it will be passed. On exportation, the produce will pay the tariff duty.”

The American merchant, M. A. Jenkins, having received from the customs at Hankow certain transit passes for the export of Szchuen produce, and the customs at Ichang having informed the Lekin officials at Kwei Chow, all the steps thus taken were in accordance with the requirements of the treaty. But the course taken by the superintendent of the station at. Kwei Chow to prevent the export of the produce in question was in violation of the stipulations of the treaty. He is directed to inspect the produce purchased by the American merchant at once, and to issue his certificate and to pass it for export without further delay. If goods unenumerated in the transit certificates are presented for export, they must, of course, pay the various taxes and dues at each of the stations and barriers passed, according to regulations, &c. Thus the viceroy of Szchuen.

It becomes my duty to communicate the foregoing substance of his reply for your information.

Chester Holcombe, Esq.,
&c., &c., &c.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 104.]

Mr. Holcombe to Prince Kung, January 17, 1879.

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Imperial Highness’s dispatch communicating the substance of the report of the viceroy of Szchuen as to the action taken by him in the matter of the native produce, covered by transit certificates taken Out by Mr. M. A. Jenkins, and which the Lekin officers at Kwei Chow had refused to recognize.

My government will be much pleased to hear of the prompt and just action of his excellency the viceroy, and I beg of your Imperial Highness to communicate to him my most sincere thanks.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 3 in No. 104.]

Mr. Holcombe to Mr. Shepard, January 18, 1879.

Sir: Recurring ‘to my dispatch No. 57, in the matter of the refusal of the local authorities at Chung King, in Szchuen, to recognize certain transit passes taken out by Mr. M. A. Jenkins for the export of native produce from Szchuen, I have the honor to inclose for your information a translation of a dispatch from the foreign office in the promises.

You will see that the viceroy of the province named has promptly disapproved the action of his subordinates, and has instructed the officials at the Lekin station at Kwei Chow to issue the customary certificate for Mr. Jenkins’s produce, and to allow it to pass without further delay.

I am, &c.,