File No. 1012/9–15.

Chargé Sands to the Secretary of State.

No. 45.]

Sir: Referring to my No. 42 of December 6, I have the honor to transmit copies of the decrees issued since 1896 by the President of Guatemala relative to Chinese immigration into this Republic.

I desire to call attention to the latest decree, permitting Chinese residents in this country to leave it, but with the understanding that they are not to return (inclosure 6).

[Page 595]

A strict adherence to this decision would undoubtedly work great hardship to the reputable Chinese merchants of this country who are all known in the communities in which they live beyond the possibility of mistake.

A delegation of these men came to this office to request that the legation take some action in the matter. I explained to them that they must refer it to the Chinese ambassador at Washington, and advised them to call upon the minister for foreign affairs before doing so and obtain from him a clear statement as to the meaning of the decree. I told them that after they had done this and made their protest of the Guatemalan Government I would forward their petition to Washington and report upon this subject myself.

I have, etc.,

W. F. Sands.
[Inclosure 1.]

Messrs. Chang et al. to Chargé Sands.

Honorable Sir: We, the undersigned Chinese merchants, have the honor to present our thanks to you for having kindly undertaken to forward a petition to His Excellency the Chinese Ambassador in Washington.

In this petition we told His Excellency that the Government of Guatemala had lately issued a law that no Chinaman leaving this country, whatever the reason and whichever his condition, could return; for those of our countrymen who had no interests in this country it was immaterial, but that there was quite a number engaged in commercial enterprises who, from the very nature of their business, were obliged to travel, and that it would spell ruin if they were either compelled to remain here indefinitely or were debarred from coming back. We furthermore laid stress on the fact that at all times the United States legation had favored us with its valuable protection and had befriended us in every way, and that we could not find words that could adequately express our gratitude, but that under prevailing conditions we should feel more at ease if His Excellency could see his way to bring the matter under the notice of the United States Government and thus second us in our entreaties.

We furthermore stated that several important members of our community had left the country some time ago with the intention of returning, but that in view of the decree of November 12 of this year they could not do so, and that their interests were thereby at stake. We finally inclosed two decrees issued by the Guatemala Government, the one dated October 28, 1897, and the other November 12, 1907.

We are indebted to you, honorable sir, for past services, and we feel sure that in the kindness of your heart you will do all in your power to protect our interests and have, if at all possible, the effects of the last decree modified.

We have, etc.,

  • Carlos Chang.
  • Jorge M. Leon.
  • Antonio Chang.
  • Rafael Leon.
  • Arturo Chang.
  • Jose Leon.
  • Juan Jo.
  • Gustavo Lau.
  • Alberto Fosan.
  • Miguel Chang.
[Inclosure 2.]

Mr. Carlos Chang to Chargé Sands.

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that I intend to leave by the next steamer for San Francisco and China, and in respectfully bidding you farewell I wish to thank you for all you have been kind enough to do for me.

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My countrymen are going to send you a letter stating the contents of the petition addressed to the Chinese minister at Washington, and I sincerely trust that you may succeed in getting the decree of November 12 repealed.

I should feel very thankful if you would kindly communicate any developments bearing on this case or any news interesting the Chinese community to my partner, Jose Leon, care of Quon On Lon Company.

I have, etc.,

Carlos Chang.
[Inclosure 3.—Translation.]

The Minister for Foreign Affairs to Chargé Sands.

Honorable Sir: I have the honor to remit, appended herewith, copies of the regulations issued concerning Chinese immigration in this Republic. With the highest consideration and esteem, etc.,

Juan Barrios, M.
[Inclosure 4.—Translation.]

Decree No. 520.

immigration law.

Chapter I.—Article II.

Subjects of the Celestial Empire shall not be contracted as immigrants or accepted as such, neither those from other countries older than sixty, unless they be parents of a family coming with them or already established here, nor criminals already convicted in their respective countries, nor those lacking the health and morals required.

[Inclosure 5.—Translation.]


Having found it necessary to take adequate measures to enforce the regulation established in decree No. 520, of January 25, 1896, prohibiting the immigration into this Republic of subjects of the Celestial Empire,

The President of the Republic

therefore decrees:

  • First. Within a period of two months from this day (which period can not be extended under no circumstance) all individuals of Chinese nationality in the Republic shall present themselves at the office of foreign affairs, in order to be registered in a record book that will be opened to that purpose, putting down in it in the most complete and minute manner possible the anthropometric description of the interested party.
  • Second. The minister will issue to the registered person the passport prescribed by law.
  • Third. When the period fixed by Article I has elapsed, any Chinese that will fail to show to any authority or to any guardian of the peace on demand, the passport mentioned in Article II, shall be immediately expelled from the country.
  • Fourth. The Chinese legally residing in the country, who might desire to leave it with the idea of returning, is obliged to request a passport from the [Page 597] minister for foreign affairs, who, in order to concede or deny said passport, shall have the right to practice beforehand whatever investigation he may deem necessary.
  • Fifth. The interested party shall bring his photograph so that it may be attached to one of the upper corners of the passport, inserting also in said document the description of the interested party, which shall be taken from the respective register, and also stating the fact that he will be again permitted to enter the country.
  • Sixth. If the journey be by sea or land, the passport must be presented to the captain of the port of embarkation or to the governor of the frontier province through which he passed. Said authorities shall collect the passport and keep it in their power in order to return it to the interested party on his return. The person must first be identified, and for the meanwhile a receipt is given him, which must be presented and destroyed when the original passport is returned.
  • Seventh. The Chinese who may in any way break the regulations of this decree shall be expelled from the Republic, and anyone who may help or try to facilitate in any manner the immigration of Chinese into Guatemala shall be punished as transgressor of the law according to the criminal code, and in the case of the transgressor being an official of the Government he shall besides be deprived of his employment.
  • Eighth. A copy of this decree will be sent to the governors of all the provinces and to the captains of all the ports for execution; the foregoing recommendations shall be reiterated to them by a circular, so they may carefully watch the execution of this law.

Let it be communicated.

Reyna Barrios.

The secretary of state:

Jorge Munoz.
[Inclosure 6.—Translation.]


chinese immigration.

In view of repeated abuses on the part of Chinese subjects who, on leaving the Republic, solicit passports and other persons make use of them to enter the country, and having to avoid Chinese immigration in pursuance to decree issued October 27, 1897,

The constitutional President of the Republic


That hereafter any Chinese subject that desires to leave the Republic may do so, but with the understanding that he is not to return again to the country; therefore the port and frontier authorities shall take special care to prevent the entrance of any Chinese, even if he is the bearer of the forementioned passport.

Let it be communicated and published.

Estrado C.

The secretary of state in the department of foreign affairs.

Juan Barrios, M.