Mr. Wu to Mr. Hay .
Washington , February 3, 1899 .
Sir: Referring to the several conversations I have had with you upon the subject of Chinese residents in the Philippine Islands, now that the treaty of peace between the United States and Spain has been concluded ceding those islands to the United States, I beg to ask, for [Page 208] the information of my Government, what policy the United States Government intends or is likely to adopt in dealing with the question of Chinese immigration to the Philippines.
I bear in mind that this treaty has not yet been put in full operation, awaiting a due exchange of ratifications, but the authority of Spain has been withdrawn from the islands, and the military authorities are now in actual possession of Manila, where the most numerous and important Chinese interests are located, and these authorities, as I understand, are preparing to occupy and control the rest of the territory. Hence my Government deems it a proper time to bring the question of the status of the Chinese resident in and doing business with these islands to your attention, with a view to securing a recognition of their just rights and interests during the military occupation and when the Government of the United States shall come to legislate upon the future administration of these islands.
It is doubtless well known to you that for centuries very intimate and important relations have existed between China and the Philippine Islands, owing to their contiguity and the favorable trade and industrial conditions. The commercial intercourse between the cities of southern China and these islands has been and is now quite extensive, and the Chinese population resident there is very large, engaged in every walk of life. There are innumerable artisans, farmers, traders, merchants, bankers, and persons of large wealth, in fact, business men of every legitimate character. Many of these are native-born, of which a considerable portion are the offspring of marriage with the Philippine races, and the manners, customs, and characteristics of the people of the islands are so much in harmony with those of the Chinese that the latter for many ages have met with a hearty welcome and have fraternized readily with them. During this long period and up to the present there has existed free immigration and unrestricted commerce.
For these reasons, and because of the deep interest the Imperial Chinese Government takes in the continuance of these relations, I am led to address you and to ask that nothing shall be done by the authorities of the United States to disturb these relations or to abridge the rights and privileges so long enjoyed by Chinese subjects in this territory recently acquired by your Government. The treaties of 1880 and 1894 clearly show that their object was to restrict and regulate the coming of Chinese subjects into the territory of the United States on the North American Continent because of the peculiar existing labor conditions. In any event the treaties could not be made to apply to the Philippines, and the cause which occasioned them not having existence in those islands, there would seem to be no occasion to enforce the policy there either by military or Congressional action. If a policy of exclusion is adopted there, should the United States in its wisdom extend the practice of territorial expansion, for instance, to Siam and Annam, the Chinese might also be excluded from those countries.
Trusting that the foregoing views will meet with the approval of your Government and that the Chinese residents of the Philippines will not be made to suffer any abridgment of their rights and privileges because of the extension of American sovereignty over them,
I avail, etc.,