The French Ambassador (Claudel) to the Secretary of State
Mr. Secretary of State: By a note dated October 6 last,11 Mr. J. Henry, Chargé d’Affaires in my absence, had the honor to invite Your Excellency’s attention to the disadvantages for the French merchant marine that might be involved in the “Alien Seamen’s Act” bill, commonly called the “King Bill”.[Page 958]
I take the liberty today of adding the following to the considerations set forth in the said note:
The provisions of the “King Bill” are in opposition to French legislation relative to the composition of the crews of French vessels. In truth, under the terms of this legislation, only French vessels whose crews are, at least to the extent of three-fourths, composed of French citizens, can be considered as French vessels. Now, with respect to the application of this rule, all the natives of the French colony of Indo-China, whether they are French subjects or protégés, are considered to be French. It is proper to point out that many of these natives are used in the engine rooms, the hard conditions of which they are better suited to support than are Europeans.
In submitting this point to the kind attention of your Excellency, I am happy to avail myself [etc.]