Mr. Tillman to Mr. Sherman.
Quito, December 7, 1897. (Received Jan. 14, 1898.)
Sir: I have the honor to submit to you some suggestions and some facts in reference to the rights of citizens of the United States in Ecuador, native and naturalized, long resident in this Republic, and respectfully express the opinion that it is a subject which ought to have the attention of the legislative branch of our Government. The same conditions which prevail in Ecuador, I am informed, prevail also in other parts of South America and Central America.
There are very few native-born citizens of the United States in Ecuador long resident in this Republic. One has resided in Quito more than twenty years, where all his estate, real and personal, is situated, of which he has a considerable fortune for this country. He is hated by the natives because he is said to be a Jew, and he takes pleasure in calumniating all Americans from the United States, both private citizens and officials, who refuse to accord him social recognition. His commercial connections are almost entirely with European houses. There are a few other citizens of the United States who have resided in Ecuador, where they have lived for periods of ten to thirty years in this Republic, some of them having married here and others raised families without marriage.
The naturalized citizens are mainly Germans by birth and Germans still in their love of Fatherland and in their business connections. There are Poles, Russians, Hungarians, and a few French and Irish long resident here, and perhaps never permanently resident in the United States, who claim to be and are naturalized citizens of the United States.
It would be difficult for many of these residents to show that they ever intended to return to the United States. They pay no taxes and render no service to the Government of the United States, and they claim exemption from all extraordinary duties and taxes to the Government of Ecuador, and even appeal to the officials of the former Government to be shielded from duties and taxes which are common to all residents in all countries.
Only a few months since two sons of a prominent and wealthy citizen of Quito went to New York and filed their declaration to become citizens of the United States. One has already returned to Quito and the other is on his return voyage to Quito at this time.
The treaty of 1872 between Ecuador and the United States attempts to guard Ecuador against persons born in Ecuador and still resident in this Republic fraudulently obtaining and continuing indefinitely rights as citizens of the United States.
Of the latter class there are a few, but of the others, native and naturalized citizens of the United States, there are many, who are permanently located in Ecuador, and certainly never lived in the United States long enough to learn the English language, or have forgotten it.
I am, etc.,