Mr. Bayard to Mr. Shu Cheou Pon.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 18th instant, in which you refer to your last interview with me, when I informed you that I would forthwith correspond with the Secretary of the Treasury again upon the subject of the transit of Chinese through the United States; and I observe your statement that you have received another note from the Chinese minister making known to you the unusually great anxiety of the Chinese subjects, heretofore referred to, to be enabled to return to China in transit through the United States.

The absence of my colleague, the Secretary of the Treasury, from the city has delayed my reply to your former note in relation to the unwillingness [Page 125] of the steam-ship companies to take on board at Havana Chinese subjects destined for New York in transit for San Francisco and China.

I find on application to my colleague, the Secretary of the Treasury, a not unnatural hesitancy on his part to decide in advance of an actual case arising in respect to the construction of a law.

And as no case is reported to me by you of the refusal to allow entrance at the port of New York of Chinese subjects for transit across the United States, the Secretary of the Treasury does not feel called upon to give an abstract opinion.

It is, however, not improper that I should say to you that neither my colleague, the Attorney-General, nor I can perceive any obstacle in the legislation of the United States which would induce a change in the practice of permitting such transit, as it was defined in the notes of my predecessor, Mr. Frelinghuysen, to the Chinese minister, under date of January 6 and February 2, 1883.

Accept, etc.,

T. F. Bayard.