No. 156.
Mr. Bayard to Mr. Denby .

No. 164.]

Sir: I inclose for your information copies of the below-enumerated correspondence, showing that American residents in China returning home on a visit, as well as travelers passing through the United States, may bring with them Chinese nurses or body servants under the provisions of the acts of Congress in regard to Chinese immigration.

I am, etc.,

T. F. Bayard.
[Page 194]
[Inclosure 1 in No. 164.]

Mr. Bayard to Mr. Manning .

Sir: Referring to a circular issued by the Treasury Department on the 23d of January, 1883, to collectors of customs, relative to the transit of Chinese laborers over the territory of the United States in the course of a journey to or from other countries, I have the honor to transmit herewith for your consideration a copy of dispatch No. 57, dated the 3d ultimo, from our consul-general at Shanghai, making inquiry with regard to the right of American residents in China, returning home on a visit, to bring with them Chinese nurses or body servants for temporary sojourn, and also as to the right of travelers, passing through the United States in transit to another country, to carry with them the same class of servants.

As the act of July 5, 1884, is essential, for the purposes of this inquiry, with that of May 6, 1882, the latter question may be considered as settled by the opinion of the Attorney-General referred to in your circular.

The principles upon which the said opinion is based apply equally to the case first presented by the consul-general at Shanghai. It may be seriously doubted whether nurses and body servants accompanying persons who came to the United States for a temporary visit are laborers within the meaning of the act, and certainly they are not immigrants, for they do not come to stay.

For these reasons I am inclined to the opinion that neither of the classes of Chinese servants referred to by the consul-general at Shanghai is prohibited by the act from entering our territory for the purposes named in the inclosed dispatch. I beg to suggest, in case you concur in this view of the law, that a circular, supplementary to that of January 23, 1883, be issued to customs officers instructing them to admit Chinese nurses and body servants coming to the United States with non-resident employers, and for a temporary purpose.

I have, etc.,

T. F. Bayard.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 164.]

Mr. Kennedy to Mr. Porter .

No. 57.]

Sir: Our citizens having a temporary residence in China from time to time have occasion to return to the United States for business or recreation. It not unfrequently happens that a family so returning desire to take a Chinese servant, and it can be readily seen that very often it is a matter of great convenience, if not necessity, that a nurse should accompany an invalid or a family of small children on the tedious voyage to America. I am frequently asked if, in view of the act suspending the immigration of Chinese to America, this is permissible.

Further, it is becoming more and more popular for British residents in China to return to England via the United States. A case in this connection has been referred to me to-day, and I am asked if an amah, or female nurse, will be permitted to land at San Francisco for the purpose of continuing the journey to Europe.

I respectfully request the Department to instruct me how to reply to such questions. I am informed that in some instances this class of servants are allowed to land at San Francisco, while at other times they are not.

I believe an act was passed in 1884 touching this subject, but copies of the public acts subsequent to 1883 have not been received at this consulate-general, therefore I do not know how far the original act has been amended, or what effect it gives to the decision of the Treasury Department, given in a letter to Mr. Frelinghuysen, dated December 27, 1882, at the instance of an inquiry from here.

I have, etc.,

J. D. Kennedy,
Consul-General.
[Page 195]
[Inclosure 3 in No. 164.]

Mr. Fairchild to Mr. Bayard .

Sir: Referring to your communication of the 21st ultimo, relative to the right of American residents in China, returning home on a visit, to bring with them Chinese nurses or body servants, and also to the right of travelers passing through the United States to carry with them servants of the same class, I have the honor to state that an opinion upon the subject has been obtained, under date of the 14th instant, from the United States Attorney-General, which is substantially in accordance with the views entertained by your Department.

Referring to section 6 of the act of May 6, 1882, as amended by the act of July 5, 1884, the Attorney-General holds that Chinese persons accompanying, as servants or nurses, visitors entitled to enter the United States, and only temporarily remaining here during the stay of such visitors, whether to be regarded as “in transit merely across the territory of the United States,” within the meaning of the opinion of Mr. Attorney-General Brewster of the 26th December, 1882, or not, fall within a description of Chinese laborers who, according to the views expressed in that opinion, and in which Mr. Garland concurs, were not intended to be excluded from the country by the legislation above mentioned.

This Department concurs in the above views, and will cause this letter to be printed in the next number of its official monthly publication, for the information and guidance of the officers of the customs.

Respectfully, yours,

C. S. Fairchild,
Acting Secretary.