Mr. Wu to Mr. Hay .

No. 114.]

Sir: I have the honor to call your attention to the case of Lei Yok, a Chinese merchant, who has been detained by the customs authorities at New Orleans while on his way from Habana to San Francisco, notwithstanding the fact that he is provided with the proper certificate required by the Chinese-exclusion acts. I inclose copy of a letter from Mr. Li Yung Yew, consul-general at Habana, which gives the facts of the case.

[Page 201]

The action of the customs authorities at New Orleans was, I am led to believe, in accordance with the instructions of the Treasury Department to refuse admission to all Chinese provided with consular certificates. I pointed out to you in my note of the 7th of November last that the narrow construction given by the Attorney-General to the treaty of 1894 in denying the power of Chinese consuls to issue certificates thereunder was entirely unsupported by external and internal evidence, and it is a great injustice to Chinese residents in foreign countries to change a practice of long standing (sanctioned by previous Secretaries of the Treasury and Attorneys-General) and require them to obtain other than consular certificates in places where Chinese consuls reside.

Now, Mr. Lei Yok is a bona fide merchant, and as such is entitled to enter this country. The certificate of identity he holds seems regular in every respect and to comply with the requirements of the exclusion laws. I have to request that you will kindly cause instructions to be issued, through the honorable the Secretary of the Treasury, to the collector of customs at New Orleans to release Mr. Lei Yok from detention and allow him to proceed to San Francisco without delay.

Accept, etc.,

Wu Ting-fang.
[Inclosure.]

Mr. Li to Mr. Wu .

Sir: I have the honor to state to your excellency that on the 6th of September last this office issued a passport, No. 1016, in favor of a Chinese subject named Lei Yok, of 21 years of age, a merchant for the last four years in Habana, at No. 21 Zanja street, where he is partner to the extent of $3,000 in the Chinese firm of Tuck Chung Yuen, to enable him to leave the island on his way to San Francisco, Cal., where he is the proprietor of an establishment under the firm name of Tai Seng Tong, at 929 Dupont street.

He left Habana on the 11th of November by steamer Whitney for New Orleans, and on his arrival there the customs authorities refused to let him proceed on his journey to San Francisco, and he is still, as I am informed, detained in that city. As his passport was in due form, issued by me, and viséd by the British consul in behalf of the United States Government, and the statements therein correct, as I know, and the proper visé was obtained from the Spanish governor of the province I am unable to account for this detention, and I have, therefore, to beg your excellency to take such steps as may be advisable in your opinion to have the cause of Mr. Lei Yok’s difficulties explained and, if possible, removed.

I am requested by his friends to petition your excellency to be pleased to obtain if possible telegraphic instructions on the matter to the customs authorities at New Orleans, so as to shorten as far as may be the detention of Mr. Yok.

I remain, etc.,

Li Yung Yew,
Chinese Consul-General at Habana.