to Mr. Holcombe.
Washington , March 3, 1879.
Sir: Your dispatch No. 94, in relation to the recently-exchanged convention between China and Spain, has been received. Due attention has been given to the request of Prince Kung, contained in his communication to you of December 14 last, that instructions be given to the consuls of the United States, resident in the island of Cuba, that in matters relating to Chinese laborers those consuls should extend their good offices, as occasion may arise, to secure the faithful observance of the stipulations of that convention.
In view of the circumstance that, as is understood, the Imperial Government is about to establish consular representation in Cuba as a consequence of the diplomatic relations to be established with Spain by the Chinese mission now in the United States, it is deemed unnecessary to instruct the consular representatives of the United States to use their good offices in such manner as might imply the officious assumption of representation of Chinese consular interests in the island of Cuba; but this government will have pleasure in so far acceding to the wish of that of His Majesty, the Emperor, as to direct the consuls of the United States in that island that they may use their good offices, unofficially, for the protection of Chinese laborers under the treaty, if appealed to by the latter, and with the consent of the authorities of Cuba, until such time as the Chinese Government shall establish consular representation there.
I am, &c.,