No. 124.

Mr. Bayard to Cheng Tsao Ju.

Sir: I had the honor to receive, on the 5th instant, through the Secretary of your legation, your unsigned memorandum, in which you advert to the frequent departure of Chinese subjects, not laborers, under the stipulations of existing treaty, from the foreign port of Hong-Kong, where there is no Chinese official to issue them certificates for their entry into or transit through the United States, and ask that the newly appointed consul of the United States at Hong-Kong be instructed to issue to such Chinese merchants departing from that port certificates in accordance with existing statutes and with the second rule of the circular of the Secretary of the Treasury dated December 6, 1884. Your memorandum further adverts to a recent statement that certain Chinese merchants, coming hither from Hawaii with certificates issued by the United States consul there, had been met with objections by the customs authorities at San Francisco on the ground that their certificates were not drawn in the proper form, and to avoid such objections it is suggested that a fixed form of certificate be prescribed for the use of the consuls of the United States in those countries where Chinese merchants have commercial intercourse with this country.

The circular of the Secretary of the Treasury of December 6, 1884, was in due time communicated to the United States consul at Hong-Kong, among others, with instructions to carry out its provisions, especially in respect of the second rule thereof. This Department is unaware of any obstacle to the fulfillment of that instruction beyond [Page 186] certain technical objections raised by the late consul, Mr. Mosby. Nevertheless, in pursuance of the request conveyed by the memorandum, and in order that no possible interruption of the prescribed rule of conduct of the consul in the premises may ensue by reason of the recent change in the incumbency of the office at Hong-Kong, an instruction will be sent forthwith to Mr. Robert E. Withers, the newly appointed consul at that port.

The further suggestion of your memorandum, relative to a fixed form of certificate to be used by United States consuls at foreign ports other than Chinese, is referred to the Secretary of the Treasury, with the request that such a form be drawn up. When the Secretary of the Treasury shall have replied, I will take pleasure in instructing the consuls at the principal ports whence Chinese merchants and other Chinese subjects not laborers may be in the habit of departing for ports of the United States, either for purposes of sojourn in this country or in transit to other countries. In order that such circular instructions may reach all consulates concerned in executing the orders therein given, I have the honor to request that you will at your earliest convenience give me a list of the ports from which Chinese subjects of the exempted classes are likely to depart and where there may be no Chinese official competent to issue the certificate called for by the act of July 5, 1884.

Accept, sir, &c.,