The Italian Chargé to the Secretary of State.


Mr. Secretary of State: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of and to extend to your excellency my best thanks for your note No. 378, of the 30th of June last, relative to the steps taken by this embassy toward the adoption of strong measures for the purpose of bringing to an end the ill treatment to which Italian laborers employed in the construction of railways in the States of Virginia and North Carolina have been and are still subjected. I am further and especially thankful for your having called, with courteous promptness, the attention of his excellency the Attorney-General and of the proper state authorities to the subject of the complaint.

I confidently cherish the hope that your action will achieve the desired result, all the more as the complaints that come almost daily to the royal diplomatic and consular officers from many of those laborers who call for assistance warrant the belief that the situation at Spruce Pine is still serious.

In addition to and further evidence of the statement I submitted to your excellency in my note No. 1130, of the 20th of June last, and its accompaniment, I venture to send you herewith a copy of the annual report of the commissioner of licenses of New York, who, on page 9 of his publication, explicitly adverts to the abuses practised on Italian laborers in North Carolina. The authoritative word of the American public official carries all the more weight in the case, as it comes in confirmation of an anomalous condition of things to which the earliest possible remedy should be applied in order to prevent further painful incidents in the mutual interest of the enterprise and of the laborers.

Pending the full completion by the federal and state authorities of the investigations into all the objectionable particulars complained of, the royal embassy would be infinitely obliged to your excellency if, as the most effective means of doing away with the most grave complaint that repeatedly comes to it from its nationals, privation of personal liberty, prompt measures were taken to enable anyone who [Page 927] would so desire to leave the construction camps after receiving the amount of wages earned for the work done until the time of his departure.

With great reliance upon the kindly interest ever evinced by the Federal Government in all cases when appeal is made to its sense of justice and of the protection due to the foreigners so liberally admitted into this country, I embrace this opportunity to renew to you, Mr. Secretary of State, the assurances of my highest consideration.

G. C. Montagna.