File No. 6610.
The Acting Secretary of State to Minister Squiers.
Washington , May 27, 1907 .
Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 98, of the 10th instant, in which you inquire whether the general instructions issued by the department to consular officers in Panama to look after the general interests of the Chinese residing in Panama in the absence of Chinese consular officers extend to your legation. You state that the consul-general has reported as to certain illegal treatment of Chinese by the municipal authorities, and that you have not taken up the matter with the foreign office, as you are uncertain as to your duties in the premises.
In reply I have to refer you to this department’s telegram of April 7, 1905,a to, and dispatch No. 131, of April 17, 1905,a from, your predecessor, Mr. Barrett, in the latter of which is inclosed an order by the Panama Government granting permission to American diplomatic and consular officers to use their good offices on behalf of Chinese resident on the Isthmus. I have also to refer you to instruction No. 46, of April 17, 1905,b to Mr. Barrett, by which the nature of the good offices to be used by our diplomatic and consular officers for the protection of Chinese subjects in Panama is indicated.
With respect to the statement made by the minister for foreign affairs in his note to you of January 29, 1907, inclosed with your dispatch under acknowledgment, that consular officers of the United [Page 933] States are not warranted in assuming the settlement of the estates of Chinese subjects in the game manner as those of American citizens, I have to say that such offices as are used in Panama by our diplomatic and consular officers in behalf of Chinese subjects and interests are exercised only with the consent of the Panaman Government, and that, therefore, our officers in Panama can not undertake to administer upon estates of Chinese except with the full consent of the Panaman Government, which, it would appear from your dispatch and its inclosures, will not be given.
I am, etc.,