Mr. Wu to Mr. Hay.
Washington, April 11, 1901.
Sir: In your note of the 2d ultimo, in which you did me the honor to reply to my notes respecting the conduct of the customs inspectors and other officials of your Government at San Francisco in the enforcement of the Chinese immigration treaty and laws, you ask for more specific information on the subject, in order that their conduct may be investigated.
The charge in my note of December 26 last was that the inspectors were generally unfriendly, if not positively hostile, to all Chinese subjects applying for admission to the United States. In my note of November 30 last I alleged that the subordinate Treasury officials distort the language and defeat the plain intent of the treaty. I respectfully submit that the facts communicated in the notes cited, as well as others of previous dates, fully sustain the charges made, and afford sufficient data to enable the Treasury Department to correct the conduct of the officials mentioned. However, in order to comply with the request contained in your note of the 2d ultimo, I asked of the imperial consul-general in San Francisco further details, and I copy herewith from his report:
Tang Shi Tak, who arrived here on the steamer America Maru December 22, 1900, ticket No. 34, applied for landing at this port as a teacher, presenting a section 6 certificate issued by the Government at Hongkong. He was denied landing. It appears that he stated that he came here for the purpose of engaging in his profession as a teacher; that a certain firm in this city, giving its name, had secured for him a number of pupils. The Chinese inspector interviewed the firm referred to and they stated that they had secured for this applicant a number of pupils, giving their names and the names of their parents. The inspector interviewed the various persons named and found the statement to be true, excepting that the name of one person could not be found at the address given, and the inspector so reported. He did not, however, report that as regards the other names mentioned the statements were correct. For that reason the case was denied.
Yee Sang, a returning Salinas merchant, arriving here on the steamer Doric, February 1, ticket No. 81, applied for admission at this port after an absence of about [Page 67]one year. He was denied landing. It appeared from his statement that he had been engaged in mercantile business for a number of years and that his business had been closed out; that he thereupon took an office and conducted the business of the defunct firm, collecting their debts and settling up their liabilities for a period of about a year. He then reengaged in business and continued in the second business for about nine months prior to his leaving for China. Proof was introduced by white witnesses that the man had been a merchant for a great many years prior to his departure for China, and the testimony of the white witnesses complied in all respects with the requirements of the Department.
In the case of Cheong In, No. 5, steamer Nippon Maru, November 12, 1900, the applicants presented two section 6 certificates, which certificates were issued by the Government in Hongkong, in due form of law and properly viséed. They presented these certificates at this port and demanded to be landed by reason thereof. The cases were investigated by the customs officials and no statements contained in the certificates were in any way controverted. It appears that the inspector reported that neither of these parties had any money about their person, and for that reason they were denied landing at this port. It did, however, appear from the investigation of the case and the report of the customs officials that certain responsible firms in this city were indebted to the firms of which these applicants were members in China, and that upon the landing of these applicants they would collect this money and would use it, among other purposes, for engaging in business in this city. The amount was considerable, and the stores, upon being interrogated by the Chinese inspectors, corroborated the statements in every particular. The law does not require that a Chinese person seeking admission at this port should be supplied with any particular amount of money, and while it might be argued that a person arriving here without means of any kind could not well be called a merchant, that does not appear in this case, as these applicants had a credit here, or, in other words, responsible firms in this city were indebted to them in various amounts of money.
In the case of Woo Chung, No. 10, steamer Coptic, December 14, 1900, this applicant also presented a section 6 certificate duly issued by the Government at Hongkong and claimed to be a merchant and a member of the exempt class. No fact in his certificate was controverted by the Government officials. In his statement he claimed that what money he needed in this country for the purpose of going into business would be furnished him by a certain firm in this city. That firm was interrogated and corroborated the statement of the applicant, and at the request of the then acting collector of this port the amount of money which the applicant claimed he needed was by the firm placed in the form of a certificate of deposit and exhibited to the collector, who expressed himself as fully satisfied with the case and that the applicant was what he claimed to be. This was a day or two before the expiration of the term of office of the then acting collector, and when the matter was brought up again before the present collector upon a recommendation of Mr. Dunn in this case it was denied, following the recommendations of Mr. Dunn in all cases, good, bad, and indifferent.
Cases similar to these could be repeated as long as one had patience to listen to them; but these seem to me fair examples of returning merchants and section 6 cases merchants who have been unlawfully denied admission at this port.
I trust that the foregoing additional facts may be brought to the attention of the honorable Secretary of the Treasury, in the hope that he will issue such instructions as will bring about a more rational and exact compliance with the letter and spirit of the treaty stipulations entered into between the two Governments.