Mr. Rockhill to Lord Gough.
Washington, August 24, 1896.
My Lord: Referring to previous correspondence concerning the fine imposed upon the master of the British steamship Cuban, and particularly to Sir Julian Pauncefote’s note of the 26th ultimo on the subject, I have the honor to inform you that the Department has received a letter dated the 20th instant, from the Acting Secretary of the Treasury, stating that the Treasury Department has not acquiesced in the decision in the Sandrey case, to which reference is made in the British ambassador’s note, the ruling in that case being apparently in conflict with the decision of a court of equal jurisdiction (in re Vito Rullo, 43 Fed. Rep., 62), and an appeal therefrom having been asked by the Immigration Bureau, and that the practice of the Treasury Department is established by Synopsis of Decisions 14099, a copy of which is herewith inclosed for your information.
The Acting Secretary of the Treasury also requests the Department to invite the attention of Her Majesty’s Government to the fact that the masters of British vessels bound to the port of New Orleans seem [Page 306] to consider that placing of stowaways on their crew lists in order to avoid future trouble in connection with the immigration laws of the United States is one of their prerogatives; that in the cases of Cavanagh and Downey it has been shown that they applied for shipment before the Cuban left port, but were refused; that it has not been alleged that the addition of their names to the crew list of the vessel after their presence on board had been discovered was for any of the purposes for which the shipment of substitutes is authorized by British law; that for this and other reasons mentioned in previous correspondence the Treasury Department is constrained to believe that the names were placed on the ship’s articles for the purpose of evading the laws of the United States, and that these circumstances, in the judgment of the Treasury Department, outweigh the subsequent acts of vigilance of the master, which, under different circumstances, might be accepted in mitigation of the offense.
In reply to the remarks of the ambassador concerning the method of the detention of prohibited immigrants in New York, the Acting Secretary of the Treasury states that the local authorities of various ports upon application provide sufficient facilities for the detention at the expense of the vessel of persons to be deported for violation of the immigration laws, but that in this case it appears that the master of the vessel declined to restrain the stowaways, under the advice of the British consul, for the reason that they were British seamen.
I have, etc.,