The Secretary of State to Minister Wilson.

Sir: Referring to your No. 114, of the 21st ultimo, I inclose for your information copy of a letter from the Secretary of Commerce and Labor in regard to the probable classification of immigrants for whom passage money has been paid in advance by Mr. Watson, immigration agent for the State of South Carolina.

I am, etc.,

E. Root.

[Same, mutatis mutandis, to American diplomatic representatives in Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.]


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

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 8th instant, No. 907–11, with which you forward a copy of a dispatch received from the American minister at Brussels in regard to the efforts of Mr. E. J. Watson, immigration agent of the State of South Carolina, to secure the emigration of Belgian families to this country by the payment of their passage money in advance.

Referring to previous correspondence had with your department on this subject, I beg to reiterate the views therein expressed to the effect that the prepayment by Agent Watson of the passage of the aliens will not necessarily, under the immigration laws, result in the rejection of the applicants upon arrival at ports in this country. The effect of such action is to place the aliens within that class described in section 2 of the act approved March 3, 1903, as those who shall be excluded from admission into the United States on the ground that they are persons whose passage is paid for with the money of another, or who are assisted by others to come, unless it is affirmatively and satisfactorily shown that such persons do not belong to one of the classes named in the said section. If, therefore, upon arrival at a United States port any of these prospective settlers should be found upon examination to belong to any one of the classes named in the said section of the act—for instance, if they should be found to be “persons likely to become a public charge,” or persons under “promises or agreements to perform labor or service”—it would be necessary to refuse them admission.

Mr. Watson, in his efforts to secure settlers for the State of South Carolina, is doubtless proceeding under the exception contained in the proviso of section 6 of the act of March 3, 1903, reading:

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Provided, That this section shall not apply to States or Territories, the District of Columbia, or places subject to the jurisdiction of the United States advertising the inducements they offer for immigration thereto, respectively.”


V. H. Metcalf.