Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, Transmitted to Congress, With the Annual Message of the President, December 3, 1888, Part I
Mr. Bayard to Mr. Chang Yen
Washington , May 8, 1888.
Sir: It gives me pleasure to inform you that the treaty signed and concluded by us as the plenipotentiaries of our respective’ countries on the 12th of March last has been approved by the United States Senate, with two amendments.
I inclose a copy of the treaty with the two amendments written in red ink and numbered in the margin.
On examination of these amendments I do not discover that the original provisions of the treaty are in any degree altered thereby, but that they only repeat what the treaty itself was intended to express.
In view of the expediency of finally concluding this agreement between our two countries, I invite you to join with me in accepting these amendments, for which end the powers already vested in you are sufficient, and for which I shall receive due authority from the President.
Ratifications being thus secured can at once be exchanged, and proclamation made by the President, which will put the treaty in force without further delay.
Message from, the President of the United States, transmitting a convention between the United States and China for the exclusion hereafter of Chinese laborers from coming to the United States, signed and concluded at Washington March 12, 1888.
To the Senate:
I have the honor to transmit herewith, and recommend for your constitutional approval, a convention, signed and concluded in this city on the 12th instant, under my direction, between the United States and China for the exclusion hereafter of Chinese laborers from coming into this country.
This treaty is accompanied by a letter from the Secretary of State in recital of its provisions and explanatory of the reasons for its negotiation, and with it are transmitted sundry documents giving the history of events connected with the presence and treatment of Chinese subjects in the United States.
In view of the public interest which has for a long time been manifested in relation to the question of Chinese immigration, it would seem advisable that the full text of this treaty should be made public, and I respectfully recommend that an order to that effect be made by your honorable body.
Washington , March 16, 1888.
Report of the Secretary of State to the President .
To the President:
I have now the honor to transmit herewith, with a view of its being communicated to the Senate for its advice and consent, a convention providing for the absolute prohibition of the coming of Chinese laborers into the United States, which was concluded in this city on the 12th instant by me under your instructions and authority and by the Chinese ministe at this capital under the imperial authority of China.
Shortly after the advent of your administration it was considered advisable, in view of the manifest popular discontent in the States bordering upon the Pacific, growing out of the presence there of Chinese laborers and their obvious lack of assimilation with the sympathies, habits, and interests of our own citizens, and the demonstrated [Page 397] inefficiency of the statutes intended to restrict their coming among us, that an effort should be made to procure the desired relief by obtaining the consent and co-operative action of China by means of an amended treaty, and thus avoid the necessity of a resort to separate legislation, which, without the co-operative assistance of the Chinese Government, would be less effectual, and might also be open to exception as being in conflict with or in derogation of the stipulations of existing conventions, and possibly as impairing our good understanding with a friendly power.
The temporary absence from the United States in 1685, and the subsequent illness of the then Chinese minister, unavoidably delayed negotiations, but upon the arrival of his successor, the present minister, Chang Yen Hoon, propositions were speedily submitted to him for a convention absolutely prohibiting the immigration of Chinese laborers, and after some further delay, arising from a visit made by him to Europe last summer, the treaty herewith transmitted has been concluded.
By this arrangement we have secured the co-operation of China in the main purpose and object of the treaty, which is plainly stated in the first article of the convention to be the absolute prohibition of Chinese laborers from coming into the United States for twenty years, and its renewal thereafter for a similar period, unless notice shall have been given as provided in Article VI.
This precludes the return of any Chinese laborers who are not now in this country, and forbids the coming into the United States of Chinese laborers from any quarter whatsoever.
From this inhibition are excepted any Chinese laborer who has a lawful wife, child, or parent in the United States, or property therein of the value of one thousand dollars ($1,000), or debts of like amount due him and pending settlement.
Considerations of humanity and justice require these exceptions to be made, for ho law should overlook the ties of family, and the wages of labor are entitled to just protection.
Judging also by the statistics of the class in question and from general experience, such excepted cases will be practically few in number, infrequent, and easily capable of such regulations as will prevent abuse.
The regulation and control of the issue of such certificates of return will be wholly in the hands of United States officials, and power to prescribe other laws at discretion may be exercised by the United States.
Such right to return is for a limited period, and the certificates are invalidated by the perpetration of fraud in connection with their procurement or use, and the United States are free to adopt such measures as may become advisable to check or punish any abuse.
In the course of late litigation in the United States courts in California, arising out of the contested claims of certain Chinese laborers to return to the United States under the certificates now provided by law, it has been pertinently suggested by the learned judges before whom the cases were tried that the detailed information contained in the certificates themselves, as now issued to the Chinese, furnishes the means of fraudulent entry of Chinese laborers, to whom such certificates have been fraudulently transferred and who are not entitled to come to the United States. And it has been pointed out that if all the facts requisite for complete identification of the departing Chinaman were retained in the United States official custody, and a paper containing only a simple number, and properly marked, signed and countersigned by the officers, were furnished, the means of detecting and preventing fraud in the transfer of the certificate would be given, and the present abuses made almost impossible of recurrence.
Existing treaty privileges of travel and sojourn in the United States to Chinese officials, teachers, students, merchants, and travelers for curiosity and pleasure remain undisturbed, as well as the transit right of laborers strictly to be exercised under United States regulations.
The stipulations of the third article of the treaty of 1880 provided for the extension of the full protection to the person and property of Chinese subjects of all classes that is given by laws of the United States to the most favored nation, and by the terms of that article the United States also agreed “to exert all its power to secure such protection” to the persons and property of Chinese subjects in the United States.
It can not justly be alleged that any discrimination has been made against the Chinese by the laws of the United States, nor that they have been denied or obstructed in their access to the avenues of public remedial justice, which are open to all persons alike without distinction of race or nationality. But the fact remains that, for reasons heretofore stated in the message of the President to Congress in relation to the Rock Springs indemnity, there has been a failure of justice in the repression and punishment of crime and lawless violence of which Chinese were the victims, owing to the mingled causes of race prejudice, labor rivalries, their peculiar habits, and segregation from other nationalities.
The ill treatment to which Chinese laborers have been subjected by lawless and cruel men in certain scantily-settled and remote regions of our jurisdiction, where they are practically beyond the reach of the protecting arm of the law, has been a [Page 398] subject of just complaint by their Government, as well as mortification and sorrow to our own, and Congress heretofore in the case of the Rock Springs massacre in Wyoming Territory, in view of all the circumstances, has made voluntary appropriations for the relief of the sufferers and their families.
The distribution of governmental powers under our system forbids the assumption of local police control by the Federal authority, except in the cases provided for by the Constitution wherein State and local governments make application to the Executive for the assistance of the military arm of the Government.
The stipulations of our treaty with China does not demand the enactment or enforcement of laws discriminating in favor of the Chinese subjects in the United States, nor does it entitle them to greater or other protection than is accorded to citizens of the most favored nations.
Tried by this test the Chinese in all cases of injuries to their persons or property are equal before the laws of this country to the citizens of any there “most favored” nation and certainly to our own citizens.
But the fact remains that they have suffered grievously in person and property, and whilst the liability of the United States is wholly inadmissible, as is recited in Article V of the treaty now submitted, yet it is competent for this Government, in humane consideration of those occurrences, so discreditable to the community in which they have taken place, and outside of the punitive powers of the National Government, to make voluntary and generous provisions for those who have been made the innocent victims of lawless violence within our borders, and to that end, following the dictates of humanity, and, it may be added, the example of the Chinese Government in sundry cases where American citizens who were the subjects of mob violence in China have been Indemnified by that Government, the present treaty provides for the payment of a sum of money to be received as full indemnity for all such losses and injuries sustained by Chinese subjects in the United States, to be received and distributed by the Chinese minister at this capital.
This payment will, in a measure, remove the reproach to our civilization caused by the crimes referred to, as well as redress the grievance so seriously complaints of by the Chinese representative, and unquestionably will also reflect most beneficially upon the welfare of American residents in China.
I submit herewith a list of the claims from time to time presented to this Department through the Chinese minister, in which the names of the claimants, the amount of the losses, and estimation and details of the injuries inflicted are set forth.
Washington , March 16, 1888.
Chinese emigration treaty as amended by the Senate.
Whereas, on the 17th day of November, A. D. 1880, a Treaty was concluded between the United States and China for the purpose of regulating, limiting, or suspending the coming of Chinese laborers to, and their residence in, the United States;
And whereas the Government of China, in view of the antagonism and much deprecated and serious disorders to which the presence of Chinese laborers has given rise in certain parts of the United States, desires to prohibit the emigration of such laborers from China to the United States.
And whereas the Government of the United States and the Government of China desire to cooperate in prohibiting such emigration, and to strengthen in other ways the bonds of friendship between the two countries;
Now, therefore, the President of the United States has appointed Thomas F. Bayard Secretary of State of the United States as his Plenipotentiary; and His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of China has appointed Chang Yen Hoon Minister of the Third Rank of the Imperial Court, Civil President of the Board of Imperial Cavalry and Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary as his Plenipotentiary; and the said Plenipotentiaries, having exhibited their respective Full Powers found to be in due and good form, have agreed upon the following articles:
The High Contracting parties agree that for a period of twenty years, beginning with the date of the exchange of the ratifications of this Convention, the coming, except under the conditions hereinafter specified, of Chinese laborers to the United States shall be absolutely prohibited; and this prohibition shall extend to the return of Chinese laborers who are not now in the United States, whether holding return certificates under existing laws or not *[Page 399]
The preceding article shall not apply to the return to the United States of any Chinese laborer who has a lawful wife, child, or parent in the United States, or property therein of the value of one thousand dollars, or debts of like amount due him and pending settlement. Nevertheless, every such Chinese laborer shall, before leaving the United States, deposit, as a condition of his return, with the collector of customs of the district from which he departs, a full description in writing of his family, or property, or debts, as aforesaid, and shall be furnished by said collector with such certificate of his right to return under this Treaty as the laws of the United States may now or hereafter prescribe and not inconsistent with the provisions of this Treaty; and should the written description aforesaid be proved to be false, the right of return thereunder, or of continued residence after return, shall in each case be forfeited. And such right of return to the United States shall be exercised within one year from the date of leaving the United States; but such right of return to the United States may be extended for an additional period, not to exceed one year, in cases where by reason of sickness or other cause of disability beyond his control, such Chinese laborer shall be rendered unable sooner to return—which facts shall be fully reported to the Chinese consul at the port of departure, and by him certified, to the satisfaction of the collector of the port at which such Chinese subject shall land in the United States. And no such Chinese laborer shall be permitted to enter the United States by land or sea without producing to the proper officer of the customs the return certificate herein required. *
The provisions of this Convention shall not affect the right at present enjoyed of Chinese subjects, being officials, teachers, students, merchants, or travelers for curiosity or pleasure, but not laborers, of coming to the United States and residing therein. To entitle such Chinese subjects as are above described to admission into the United States they may produce a certificate from their Government or the Government where they last resided, vise by the diplomatic or consular representative of the United States in the country or port whence they depart.
It is also agreed that Chinese laborers shall continue to enjoy the privilege of transit across the territory of the United States in the course of their journey to or from other countries, subject to such regulations by the Government of the United States as may be necessary to prevent said privilege of transit from being abused.
In pursuance of Article III of the Immigration Treaty between the United States and China, signed at Peking on the 17th day of November, 1880, it is hereby understood and agreed that Chinese laborers, or Chinese of any other class, either permanently or temporarily residing in the United States, shall have for the protection of their persons and property all rights that are given by the laws of the United States to citizens of the most favored nation, excepting the right to become naturalized citizens. And the Government of the United States reaffirms its obligation, as stated in said Article III, to exert all its power to Secure protection to the persons and property of all Chinese subjects in the United States.
Whereas Chinese subjects, being in remote and and unsettled regions of the United States, have been the victims of injuries in their persons and property at the hands of wicked and lawless men, which unexpected events the Chinese Government regrets, and for which it has claimed an indemnity, the legal obligation of which the Government of the United States denies; and whereas the Government of the United States, humanely considering these injuries and bearing in mind the firm and ancient friendship between the United States and China, which the high contracting parties wish to cement, is desirous of alleviating the exceptional and deplorable sufferings and losses to which the aforesaid Chinese have been subjected; therefore, the United States, without reference to the question of liability therefor (which as a legal obligation it denies), agrees to pay on or before the first day of March, 1889, the sum of two hundred and seventy-six thousand six hundred and nineteen dollars and seventy-live cents ($276,619.75) to the Chinese minister at this capital, who shall accept the same, on behalf of his Government, as full indemnity for all losses and injuries sustained by Chinese subjects as aforesaid, and shall distribute the said money among the said sufferers and their relatives.[Page 400]
This convention shall remain in force for a period of twenty years, beginning with the date of the exchange of ratifications; and if, six months before the expiration of the said period of twenty years, neither Government shall formally have given notice of its termination to the other, it shall remain in full force for another like period of twenty years.
In faith whereof we, the respective plenipotentiaries, have signed this treaty and have hereunto affixed our seals.