No. 82.
Mr. Young to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 207.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose a correspondence between this legation and Mr. Consul Jones, of Nagasaki. The question asked by Mr. Jones is whether, under the law, the Chinese consul at Nagasaki is a competent “authority” to issue a certificate of identification to Chinese subjects who propose to visit the United States and are entitled to do so.

I have said to the consul that in my opinion a consul has the right to issue such a certificate. This opinion I have, however, asked him to accept with reserve, subject to the approval of the Department, as I have no instruction that enables me to speak with authority.

I have, &c.,

[Page 205]
[Inclosure 1 in No. 207.]

Mr. Jones to Mr. Young.

Sir: The act of Congress of May 6, 1882, suspends the coming of Chinese laborers for ten years, except those who were in the country previous to November 17, 1880. These can return upon producing certain prescribed certificates of identification. The certificate is to be issued by the Chinese Government, or under its authority, and must state the name, age, &c., of the person to whom it is issued.

The question I desire to ask is: Is a Chinese consul in Japan, who is also a judicial officer, competent authority, under the provisions and meaning of this act, to issue such certificate? In my opinion he is, but I would be glad to be furnished with your opinion also.

My colleague, Mr. U. Tsing, Chinese consul” at this port, has been applied to for such certificates, and I have given him my opinion, but as some trouble has grown out of this act, I desired him not to act upon it until I had laid the question before you for your opinion.

I have, &c.,

United States Consul.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 207.]

Mr. Young to Mr. Jones.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge your dispatch dated May 14, 1883, in which you ask the opinion of the legation as to the right of Chinese consuls at foreign ports to issue “certificates of identification” to Chinese subjects proposing to visit the United States.

This legation has no instruction from the Department upon this particular question. Any opinion, therefore, I may express, you must accept with reserve, subject to the approval of the Secretary of State.

As I understand the statute, any Chinese subject, not excluded from the United States by its provisions, has, to gain admission to our ports, to show by some papers coming from an authority in the confidence of the Chinese Government that he does not belong to the interdicted classes. In China he would go to the taotai or the viceroy. In Nagasaki his only recourse is the consul or minister. The consul and the minister are high and responsible authorities, charged with his protection. He is as much entitled to protection in his right to travel as in any other right. All that our Government wishes to know is whether a Chinaman asking to land in the United States has a right to do so under the statutes and the treaties. The certificate of a consul is, in the opinion of this legation, a true and lawful way of giving that knowledge.

If there should be any doubt as to whether a consul is an “authority” in the meaning of the statute, there would, I apprehend, be no difficulty in inducing the imperial cabinet to confer the power upon all the officials in the consular service. Any suggestion of this kind to the cabinet, however, will await the instructions of the Department.

I am, &c.,