Mr. Gresham to Mr. Yang Yü.
Washington, September 9, 1893.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 7th instant, in which you bring to my attention the reports which have reached you from the Chinese consul-general at San Francisco, and from the Chinese Board of Trade at Los Angeles, California, touching proceedings in the courts at the latter place looking to the deportation of certain unregistered Chinese persons under the sixth section of the Geary act. You state your apprehension that these proceedings indicate a systematic effort to enforce that law by arresting and taking before the courts large numbers of Chinamen who failed to comply with the requirements of that act, and refer to His Imperial Majesty’s belief that no arrests or deportation of Chinese residents of this class [Page 257]would be made until after the Congress of the United States should further act upon the subject so that an opportunity might be afforded to repeal, modify, or enforce the law by appropriate legislation.
The policy of the Government in this regard remains the same as when I spoke to your honored predecessor on the subject some months since, and as stated in my note of May 5th last, to Mr. Tsui, the executive power of the Government has not, for reasons previously stated, initiated any steps looking to the effective execution of the act. I should add, as I told you yesterday, that a bill amending the act by affording another and ample opportunity for your countrymen to register is expected to be introduced in Congress forthwith, and I doubt not it will receive the careful and earnest consideration it deserves.
You are, however, doubtless aware that, under the constitutional organization of the Government of this country, the executive, legislative, and judicial functions are distinct and independent, and that the judicial power is not subject to the orders of the executive.
I am as yet not officially advised of the decision of the courts in the cases to which you refer, or of the extent to which they have taken cognizance of the complaints laid before them. The act makes it the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to execute sentences of deportation, and I can assure you that he is earnestly alive to the especial circumstances that surround the matter at the present juncture.
With regard to the concluding passage of your note, I can not share your belief that the Chinese residents of the United States have good reason to anticipate violence to their persons and property as a result of the excitement now supposed to exist. A note which I send to you communicating the action of the authorities of the State of California in view of a rumored demonstration against Chinese residents in San Bernardino County and in advance of any representation in behalf of the interested persons, will show you the earnest determination of the State officers to cause law and order to be maintained and to employ all lawful power to that end.