The Acting Secretary of State to the Italian Ambassador.

No. 302.]

Excellency: Referring to your note of the 3d instant in further relation to your request for answers to certain inquiries propounded by you in your note of June 21 last in regard to the admission of aliens into the United States, I have the honor to inclose for your information a copy of a letter on the subject from the Acting Secretary of Commerce and Labor.

Accept, etc.,

F. B. Loomis.

The Acting Secretary of Commerce and Labor to the Secretary of State.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 12th instant, inclosing a translation of a note from the Italian ambassador in further relation to his request under cover of your letter of the 24th of June last, for an answer to certain queries propounded by him in regard to the admission of aliens.

Replying categorically to the said interrogatories, the Department has to state that officers of the immigration service do admit “an immigrant or a family of immigrants which comes with the intention to settle in a determined place and to buy land there on long payment and without paying any sum on account of the price of sale,” unless such immigrants are inadmissible for any of the various reasons stated in section 2 of the act of March 3, 1903.

In answer to the second query the same reply may be made—namely, that the immigration officers would admit “an immigrant or a family of immigrants which comes to work land on shares, i. e., the net profit derived from the crop raised to be divided between the laborer and the owner” unless inadmissible, as above stated, or unless it appears to the inspectors at the port or ports of arrival that the coming of such aliens was induced by promises of employment given before the departure of said aliens from their own country.

The Department is aware that these replies are probably not so explicit as the Italian ambassador desires, but it is impossible to make them more so. In the Department’s letter of the 30th of June upon this subject it endeavored to show that such cases as those cited by the Italian ambassador were hypothetical and that therefore no positive and satisfactory reply could be made. The law imposes upon the officers at the ports primarily the duty of deciding whether an alien is admissible or not. The Department has no jurisdiction except upon appeal from the decision of such officers. The latter would, of course, be governed by the evidence presented in each particular case irrespective of any general expression of opinion upon hypothetical cases made by the Department. This explanation, it is hoped, will suffice to make it clear to the Italian ambassador that the object of the Department’s letter of June 30 last was rather to show the futility of attempting a reply to the queries propounded and not indicative of any unwillingness to furnish any information which would be of practical service.


Lawrence O. Murray.