The Acting Secretary of State to the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury (Newton)

Sir: The Department has received your two letters of the 26th and 27th instant, relative to the Japanese battleship Hizen off the port of Honolulu, and has taken up the matter of the improper conduct of the battleship and its launches informally with the Japanese Ambassador, with the view to preventing further infractions of neutrality by the operations of this vessel.

In regard to the request of the captain of the Hizen to send sealed communications to the Japanese consul at Honolulu and receive sealed replies, the Department is of the opinion that communications of this sort or communication in any other manner between the battleship Hizen and Japanese officers in Honolulu, bearing upon the belligerent operations of the vessel, would not comport with the strict neutrality of the United States, and therefore should not be allowed.

It is noted that one of the members of the crew of the Æolus is a Chinaman, whose release at Honolulu may raise a question in regard [Page 661] to his immigration into the United States. If such is the case, the matter should, I presume, be referred directly to the Department of Labor which, as you know, has jurisdiction of such matters.

I am [etc.]

Robert Lansing