Mr. Chang Yen Hoon to Mr. Blaine.
I am informed that twelve Chinese laborers, arriving at New Orleans, destined for China, in transit through the United States, have been refused to land from steamer and detained by customs authorities. I claim that this is in violation of treaty as well as existing customs regulations, and I appeal to you to have instructions given to officials at New Orleans to allow them to pass in transit in accordance with Treasury Department circular of January 23, 1883. By reference to correspondence with this legation early in this year you will see Secretary Bayard decided, after consulting Attorney-General, that there was no impediment in act October 1st last against transit of Chinese laborers in conformity with Treasury circular 83. Under this decision the collector at New York has for several months past been allowing the transit through that port of Chinese laborers from Cuba to San Francisco. I think inquiring of customs officials at both these ports will show that Chinese in transit have faithfully observed the provisions of circular. It seems clear that act October 1st has no application to transit. I am confident neither you nor President Harrison are disposed to give act greater application than language of Congress warrants, especially in violation of solemn treaty rights. A prompt decision is requested.