File No. 704.9317/9.

The Secretary of State to Minister Jefferson.

No. 53.]

Sir: The Department is in receipt of your despatch No. 162 of May 17 last, enclosing a copy of a memorial addressed to you by a number of Chinese citizens, residing in Nicaragua, in which they say that they have been informed that this Government had promised the Chinese Minister in Washington that it would extend its protection to Chinese citizens and their property in Nicaragua, in case the need for such protection should arise.

You state that for sometime past the Legation has used its good offices in behalf of Chinese residents in Nicaragua, but that you would like to be informed whether the Department has other instructions to give you in the matter.

In reply you are informed that the representations of the Chinese memorialists are correct, and that you should be guided by the Department’s instruction No. 114, of July 15, 1908, to Minister Coolidge (see Foreign Relations of the United States, for 1908, page 661).5

I am [etc.]

Robert Lansing.
  1. Instruction No. 114 of July 15, 1908, says in part:

    “You will accordingly take under the protection of the Legation at Managua Chinese subjects and their interests in Nicaragua in the way pointed out in instructions Nos. 470 and 535, dated respectively July 3, 1896, and February 6, 1897, to Minister Baker.

    Instruction No. 470 was not printed. It reads as follows (Instructions: Central America, vol. 26, p. 651):

    “No. 470.]

    Department of State,
    Washington July 3, 1896.

    Sir: I enclose herewith copy of a note from the Chinese Minister at Washington, who asks, in consequence of the absence of any treaty relations of China with Nicaragua and Salvador permitting China to appoint consular representatives, that you and our consular officers may be allowed to exercise your and their good offices in behalf of the Chinese subjects living in those Republics.

    “Your efforts are to be confined to the friendly intervention in case of need for the protection of the Chinese in their person and property from unjust and harsh treatment. You are not to hold any representative character or function as respects the Chinese Government, and are to act informally. Before taking any steps in the matter, however, you should represent to the Governments of Nicaragua and Salvador, respectively, the wish of the Chinese Government and the willingness of your Government to accede thereto, as herein indicated, provided the assent of the authorities of Nicaragua and Salvador is entirely favorable.

    “Their decisions upon the subject should be reported to the Department.

    “I am [etc.]

    Wm. Woodward Baldwin,
    Acting Secretary.”

    Instruction No. 535, after referring to No. 470, deals specifically with the necessity for certification, by a competent agent of the Chinese Government, of the Chinese citizenship of certain petitioners in Salvador, and proceeds as follows:

    “This [necessity for such certification] being so, a form of certificate to be used by you and the Consul at San Salvador should be prepared in consultation with the Salvador Minister of Foreign Affairs, in order that it may correctly express the character of the protection afforded and the degree to which it is recognized by Salvador. Something like this would probably suffice:

    “‘ I, * * *, of the United States of America, certify that * * * claims to be a subject of the Emperor of China, resident in Salvador, and that upon proving his status as such Chinese subject he is under the protection of the Government of the United States and entitled to the good offices of the diplomatic and consular officers thereof in case of need, in pursuance of an understanding between the Governments of Salvador and China to that end.’

    “Similar action should be taken as regards Nicaragua, who your No. 687 of August 21 last reported had likewise conceded the exercise of your good offices.

    “You will inform the Consul at San Salvador of the situation and send him a copy of this instruction.

    I am [etc.]

    Richard Olney.