Mr. Bayard to Mr. Chang Yen
Washington, August 30, 1887.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a note from Mr. Shu Cheon Pon, dated July 2, 1887, in which, in reference to my note of June 23 last, touching the act of Congress approved February 3, 1887, for the suppression of the opium traffic, he remarks that United States consuls in China have jurisdiction to try and punish American citizens engaged in that trade, while the Chinese customs authorities have the right to confiscate the opium, and that joint investigation should only be followed in case of dispute.
The Government of the United States fully recognizes the principles herein set forth, and has no desire to encroach upon the jurisdiction of China in the administration of her customs laws in respect to opium or other contraband merchandise. Instructions in this sense were accordingly sent in July last to the United States minister at Peking, and through him to the consuls of this Government in China, which, it is hoped, will avoid any conflict by leaving China to execute her customs laws as heretofore and leaving penal proceedings against citizens of the United States to the properly constituted authorities of this Government under the extraterritorial guaranties of existing treaties.