Mr. Rockhill to Mr. Pringle.

No. 318.]

Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch, No. 310, of the 21st ultimo, in which you request to be furnished with a certificate to be issued in Spanish to Chinese persons resident in Guatemala, stating that they are under the protection of your legation.

The terms upon which this protection is granted, at the request of the Chinese Government and with the acquiescence of that of Guatemala, are stated in the correspondence heretofore had with your legation since the Department’s instruction, No. 128, of August 18, 1894, and the Guatemalan Government has been informed of the scope of such protection, good offices being extended in behalf of such Chinese persons by the United States diplomatic and consular officers, without assumption of any representative function by them as agents of China. It of course follows that our officers so acting can not originally certify to the fact of Chinese citizenship, for a passport or other documentary attestation to that end could only be issued by a responsible agent of the Chinese Government.

This being so, it is preferable that the form of certificate to be used, [Page 380] as indicated by you, should be prepared in consultation with the minister for foreign affairs, in order that it may correctly express the character of the protection afforded and the degree to which it is recognized by Guatemala. Something like this would probably suffice:

I, ——— ———, of the United States of America, certify: That ——— ———, claims to be a subject of His Majesty the Emperor of China, resident in Guatemala, and that upon proving his status as such Chinese subject, he is under the protection of the Government of the United States and entitled to the good offices of the diplomatic and consular officers thereof in case of need, in pursuance of an understanding between the Governments of Guatemala and China to that end.

You may submit this to the minister for foreign affairs, adverting to his excellency’s note to General Young, of April 22, 1896, closing the understanding referred to.

I am, etc.,

W. W. Rockhill,
Acting Secretary.