Mr. Chang Yen Hoon to Mr. Bayard.

Sir: I have been informed by the imperial Chinese consul-general in Havana that for two or three months past the steamers sailing from that port to New Fork have refused to receive on board and transport to New York the subjects of China resident in the Island of Cuba who desire to pass through the United States in transit to China or other countries. The consul-general further reports that these steamers greatly desire to carry these Chinese subjects as passengers, but their officers and agents report that they are not allowed by the customs authorities of New York to bring to and land at said port of New York such Chinese subjects in transit to China.

It becomes my duty to represent to you that such prohibition of the customs authorities of New York causes great inconvenience and hardship to a large number of Chinese subjects in Cuba, and I think you must agree with me that such prohibition is in violation of the treaties existing between the Governments of China and the United States. The only modification which has been by treaty made upon the free entrance into and transit through the United States of Chinese subjects is contained in the treaty of 1880, and that modification relates only to the immigration of Chinese laborers, and does not affect the right of transit of Chinese subjects of all classes through the country en route to other parts of the world.

It is not my purpose now to consider the question of the extent of the violation of treaty rights and international law and usage in the act of Congress of October 1 of last year, copies of which were transmitted with your note of October 18 last. That question may be deferred to another occasion. It seems sufficient at present to cite the fact that the said law relates to the return to the United States of Chinese laborers who have been, or who may become, residents within the United States, and who have departed or may depart therefrom. The Chinese subjects in behalf of whose rights I now invoke the interposition of your Government are such as have never been residents of the United States and who merely desire to pass in transit through the United States from a foreign port to China or from China to some other foreign country, and to whom the law cited does not appear, to me to have any application.

I therefore respectfully request that the attention of the Secretary of the Treasury may be directed to the subject, in order that he may require the treaties to be respected by the customs authorities, and that the practice as to transit which was in force before the passage of said law may continue to be observed.

I improve, etc.,

Chang Yen Hoon.