Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, 1894, With the Annual Message of the President, Transmitted to Congress, December 3, 1894
Mr. Gresham to Mr. Yang Yü.
Washington, March 15, 1894.
Sir: In reply to your note of the 12th instant, I have the honor to inclose for your information copy of a letter which I addressed to the Secretary of the Treasury on the same date, and a copy of his reply thereto, transmitting copy of a report upon the subject of registration of Chinese laborers by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue.
Mr. Gresham to Mr. Carlisle.
Washington, March 12, 1894.
Sir: I have the honor to send you for your information copy of a note just received from the Chinese minister at this capital relative to difficulties encountered by his countrymen in registering under the Geary law. If the statements in this note are correct, and I have no knowledge tending to show that they are not, would it not be well to increase the facilities for registering? I venture to suggest further the propriety of sending officers to the Chinese camps in the mountains that they need not be required to incur the heavy expense of traveling to some distant point and remaining there indefinitely for an opportunity to register.
You will oblige me by replying to this letter at your early convenience, in order that I may make proper acknowledgment of the communication just received.
I have, etc.,
Mr. Carlisle to Mr. Gresham.
Office of the Secretary,
Washington, D. C., March 15, 1894.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 12th instant, inclosing a letter from His Excellency Yang Yü, minister of China, upon the subject of Chinese registration, and in response, I beg leave to transmit herewith a letter from the honorable Commissioner of Internal Revenue, which explains the situation.
This Department is anxious to afford every possible facility for the registration of the Chinese under the recent act of Congress, and I have caused communications to be addressed to the collectors, who have charge of that work, for the purpose of ascertaining whether additional official force is necessary, and whether or not any other measures than those heretofore taken can be adopted which will afford better accommodations for those who desire to register.
Mr. Miller to Mr. Carlisle.
Office of Internal Revenue,
Washington, D. C., March 13, 1894.
Sir: Referring to letter of the Chinese minister of the 12th instant, on the subject of Chinese registration at San Francisco, transmitted to you by Hon. Walter Q. Gresham, Secretary of State, in letter of even date, which you handed me this morning for reply, I have the honor to state in reference to the complaint that many of the applicants are compelled to travel a long distance to register and are delayed at the registry station because of the number of applicants being greater than the facilities furnished for serving applicants, thus incurring great expense that it is believed the facilities furnished for registration will prove to be ample to accomplish the purpose by the time the law expires, namely, May 3, 1894.
In addition to the regular field and office force employed in the internal revenue service throughout the United States, ninety-six special deputies for Chinese registration have been provided for in the first and fourth districts of California, and the districts of Oregon and Montana. Sixty-four of the number are employed in the first district of California, embracing the city of San Francisco. It will be seen, therefore, that two-thirds of the force have been assigned to territory which is estimated to contain much less than one-half of the whole number of Chinese to be registered in the United States. Facilities and accommodations were provided for registering and made available on the 1st of January last, but for some reason, unknown to this office, but little attention was paid by the parties interested to the matter until about the 1st of February, since which date a very lively interest has been manifested with reference to the subject.
This office is not fully advised as to the number of stations provided by Collector Welborn, of the first district of California, for receiving applications for certificates. The information will be called for by telegraph and transmitted as soon as received. It is proper to state, however, that it was not practicable to provide sufficient deputies to cover the territory so completely as to relieve applicants from all expense of travel and delay, but it is believed that the requirements of the law in this behalf have been met to a reasonable degree.
It is suggested that possibly less complaint would have been found to exist had those requiring certificates been prompt in making application when opportunity was offered them. While upon this subject, it may be well to observe that the collector at Chicago, where there are supposed to be between 3,000 and 4,000 Chinese subject to registration, reports that up to the 1st of March little or no interest was [Page 163]manifested, by them, but since that date they have been coming forward for registry in such numbers and at such times as to embarrass the regular work of the office and cause the applicants considerable delay in waiting their turn to be registered by the restricted force assigned to that duty. It would seem, therefore, that if cause for complaint exists in this respect it is the applicants themselves who are somewhat to blame for delaying action.
The fact referred to by the Chinese minister that applications for registry far exceed the progress of the work is due to the fact that the collector was instructed by this office not to delay the receipt of applications for the purpose of issuing certificates, as the certificates could be transmitted by mail and through deputies at a later date. This action was taken with a view of furnishing applicants the promptest service possible with the means afforded this office for that purpose.
Advices received by this office from the several collectors throughout the country, where any considerable number of Chinese are to be registered, are to the effect that in their opinion ample facilities have been provided for accomplishing the work within the time fixed by law, provided those interested will make prompt application, and as above stated it is believed the work will be done within that time, with the exception possibly that some of the certificates for which applications are received before that date will be sent after that date.
A report has been called for from each collection district, showing the progress of the work up to the 15th instant, the estimated number to be registered, the number of applications received up to that date, the number of certificates issued, and the estimated number of applications yet to be received. As soon as this information is received it will be placed in proper shape and transmitted for your further advice and consideration.
If upon investigation it is found that the facilities already furnished are inadequate to the completion of the work, further facilities and accommodations will be provided to that end.