No. 618.
Mr. Adee to Mr. Curry.

No. 185.]

Sir: I inclose for your information a copy of a dispatch from our consul-general at Havana in further relation to extreme annoyances of the passport arrangements in Cuba.

I am, etc.,

Alvey A. Adee,
Acting Secretary.
[Inclosure in No. 185.]

Mr. Williams to Mr. Porter.

No. 599.]

Sir: In reply to the Department’s instruction No. 257, of the 2d instant, inclosing the copy of a letter from Messrs. James E. Ward & Co., of New York, dated the 23d ultimo, and requesting me to report whether a shipping and landing fee upon passengers is charged in Cuba by the insular officers, I beg most respectfully to refer to my dispatch No. 583, of the 5th instant, wherein the subject is extensively treated, and which crossed on the way with the said instruction.

I may add, however, as complementary of my said dispatch, that no fee is charged by the insular officers on passengers when landing, but when leaving the island, then a passport, which involves the payment of a fee, is exacted of them. This was facetiously called a few days ago by one of the Havana newspapers, “Un derecho de exportacion sobre los Americanos” (an export duty upon Americans).

All Americans who enter the island and return, taking passage at this port, are required by the authorities to take from this office an official request for the visa of their passports, when they have them. For the information of the Department, I inclose blank form, marked No. 1, of these printed requests.

There have been days during the winter just past when as many as fifty to sixty of these requests have been issued from this office. When Americans come here without passports issued by the Department, I then send another form of request to the authorities, one of which is also inclosed and numbered 2.

The fee charged by the insular officers for visaing a passport of the Department, whose holder has not been here over a month, is 30 cents. Generally holders prefer to pay the clerk of the hotel at which they stop a fee of $1, in addition to the 30 cents, to attend to the work of visaing, rather than lose time in waiting attendance upon the insular officers or running around in the sun to attend to the work themselves. If the holder of a passport, however, remains here over a month, then he must pay, instead of 30 cents, $4.05, besides the fee of the hotel clerk.

Blank number 2 is used when the holder has come here without a passport. In this case the charge of the officers is $4.05.

As pertaining to and as illustrative of the subject, I beg to accompany the inclosed letters,* numbered 1 to 12, from Americans who, in the absence of passports from the Department, have lately called for assistance upon this office.

[Page 995]

As relevant also to this subject, I may mention that the hotel-keepers of this city have lately published a communication in the newspapers, complaining against the passport system as an obstruction to their business, and as therefore tending to diminish the resources by which they are enabled to pay their heavy taxes.

In no case where services are rendered by this consulate in the matter of passports is any charge whatever made.

I have the honor to be, sir, etc.,

Ramon O. Williams,
[Inclosure 1 to inclosure in No. 185]

No. ——.

Visto en este consulado general, solicita Don ——— —— refrendar _______ _______ su pasaporte parapasar á los Estados Unidos, _____ _______.

Habana, ____ ______,188____.

_____ _____,

[Inclosure 2 to inclosure in No. 185.]

Excmo. Sr. Gobernádor Civil de la Provincia:

Excmo. Señor: Ruego á V. E. se sirva mandar expedir pase para volver á los Estados Unidos, á favor de ___ _______ quien llegó á esta sobre el dia _____ _____ sin, pasaporte.

Dios guarde á V. E. muchos años.

  1. Not published.