The Chinese Minister to the Secretary of State.
Washington, March 31, 1905.
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that it has come to my knowledge through reports received by this legation from all parts of the country and confirmed by inquiry at the Department of Commerce and Labor that the bureau of immigration has been engaged for some time past, and is still occupied, in taking a census of the Chinese residents of the United States. This action is causing much disturbance and anxiety among the Chinese. It is understood that this proceeding is not authorized by any legislation of Congress, but is the voluntary action of the Executive Department of the government of the United States.
I can not refrain from expressing to you my surprise at this proceeding. It is well known to the officials of the Department of Commerce and Labor that negotiations are being conducted between your Department and this legation for a new treaty, in which this very question of a new registry or census is one of the matters under consideration. [Page 167] Under these circumstances such an independent procedure as that above stated can not fail to impress my government very unfavorably and will not tend to promote the good understanding that is so much to be desired between the two, countries.
I deem it my duty to protest against the action of the bureau of immigration, and to ask you to bring the subject to the attention of the President in order that this impediment to a continuance of the negotiations may be removed by an order to suspend the further taking of a census, or registry, until the negotiations are concluded.