« PreviousContinue »
laborers into the United States was restricted, it was provided in the treaty that where the legislation of Congress authorized by that convention was likely to work hardship on the Chinese subjects the minister in Washington would be permitted to communicate with the Secretary of State to the end that mutual and unqualified benefit might result.
In making use at this time of the privilege granted in the cited treaty provision, I desire not to be understood as antagonizing the just provisions of pending legislation or intluencing Congressional action, but to bring to your attention, and through you to Congress, some of the hardships which will inevitably result to the subjects of China in case some of the proposed legislation should become a law. Should I remain silent until the bills now before Congress be enacted into law, it will then be too late to remedy the evil. I trust, therefore, that what I say to you may aid the honorable Congress in making a right conclusion on the subject.
I desire especially to direct attention to the bill, Senate No. 2960, which has been reported to the Senate from the Committee on Immigration. In the concluding paragraph of the report which accom panies the bill it is said:
There can be no doubt that under a wise, humane, and fearless enforcement of this act the importation of Chinese laborers will be prevented and the ingress of Chinese merchants and others of the exempt classes facilitated, and that the present relations between the United States and China will be strengthened thereby.
I feel it my duty to say to you, and through you to the Congress, which will soon be called to act upon this bill, that if it becomes a law it will have just the contrary effect from that stated by the committee. It can not fail to seriously disturb the friendly relations which have up to the present existed between the two Governments and peoples.
I do not wish to go into the different provisions of the bill in detail, but I should like to call your attention in a general way to its effects. It restricts the privileged Chinese persons, other than laborers, to come to the United States to only five classes, viz, officials, teachers, students, merchants, and travelers, in direct contravention to the treaty of 1880, in Article I, where it states that the limitation or suspension of immigration shall apply only to laborers, " other classes not being included in the limitation.” So also the history of the negoti shows that it was the intention of the two Governments that laborers alone were to be excluded. Under the bill there would be excluded bankers, capitalists, commercial agents or brokers, and even merchants who come only to make purchases; also scholars and professors, of which there are many in China of high attainments; also physicians, clergymen, and many other classes which do not fall under the five classes exempt by the bill. The provisions of the bill as to the five exempt classes are so restrictive as to practically nullify the treaty in regard to them. The definitions as to teachers, students, and merchants are so contrary to the spirit of the treaty as to make them almost impossible of observance.
À woman married according to the Chinese custom to a person of the exempt classes would be prohibited from entering the country, because, according to the provision of the bill, it is necessary that the marriage shall be legal and binding by the laws of the United States.
The bill requires that all Chinese laborers now in the United States shall undergo a new registration. It will be remembered that my Government remonstrated against the first registration that was pro
posed under the Geary law, and only consented to it at the earnest. request of the Secretary of State at the time. All the Chinese laborers submitted to that requirement, and were registered, and now it is proposed to nullify all that and subject them to the annoyance and trouble of a new registration. It is an unnecessary hardship and should not be required.
The bill also contemplates the registration of all merchants and of others of the exempt class. This can not be required under the treaty, but the bill attempts to obviate that obstacle by making the failure to register a serious prejudice of their rights.
I have heretofore complained to you of the great hardships to which laborers, merchants, and others are subjected, after they have been admitted to the United States and are lawfully domiciled in this country. Past experience shows that Chinese have been arrested by the wholesale, placed in jeopardy, and subjected to molestation and insult. When found innocent, no redress is obtained for such illegal arrest. Persons charged with being unlawfully in the country and taken before a court are denied the privilege of bail, but must remain in jail until their case is decided. The bill, in place of providing some relief for these hardships, rather adds restrictions thereto.
The provisions with regard to transit across the United States imposed by this bill are almost impossible to be complied with, because people who are passing through the United States en route to other countries do not know the laws of the country and they can not understand the intricate rules and regulations made by the CommissionerGeneral of Immigration.
The report of the committee says that -
The greatest degree of fairness and justice to the exempt classes will be insured by the provisions of the bill, which provides better means for the investigation and disposition of their claims.
And, again, it says:
will tend to protect the worthy immigrant in his treaty rights and privileges.
I have referred to the fact that the provisions as to the admission of the exempt classes are in direct violation of the treaty, and in addi tion to this the bill provides that the exempt classes must submit their right to admission to the adjudication of the Immigration Bureau, which, as I showed in my note 4 to you of December 10 last, was a purely ex parte investigation, where the claimant was not permitted to confront the witnesses, was deprived of the privilege of counsel, and was excluded from an appeal to the courts. I can not understand how the committee can style this "the greatest degree of fairness and justice," or how the worthy immigrant is protected in his treaty rights and privileges.” It seems to me, on the contrary, that his treaty rights are taken away from him.
The provisions of the bill above referred to, and others which might be cited, place so many restrictions upon Chinese persons and require them to comply with such strict provisions that no Chinese having the least respect for himself would submit to such indignities and come to this country. I fear the effect of the bill, if it becomes a law, will be that Chinese merchants will not come here to buy goods nor students come for educational purposes.
a Printed in Foreign Relations, 1901, p. 75,
Another feature of the bill must be alluded to. The new possessions of the United States, such as Porto Rico, the Hawaiian Islands, the Philippines, and others which may hereafter be acquired, are subjected to its provisions. It can not be claimed that they were considered when the treaty was negotiated, and it is hardly just or in accordance with international comity that the treaty should be extended to them without the consent of China.
I have received repeated instructions from the Imperial Government, in view of the reenactment of the exclusion laws, to exert myself to see that treaty rights are observed and that no unnecessary hardships are placed upon Chinese subjects, and I feel that on account of the pendency of the legislation referred to I could not refrain from asking you to lay before the honorable Congress the views above set forth. You know that in regard to the exclusion of laborers my Government and myself have stood ready to cooperate with your Government in making the treaty prohibition effective. But with regard to the exempt classes who seek to come here for trading, educational, and other legitimate purposes, I must earnestly protest against the unwarranted and unjust provisions of the bill. In place of insuring “ the greatest degree of fairness and justice," as stated by the immigration committee, it would impose such indignities and hardships upon these classes that few, if any, would come here. And notwithstanding the sincere wish of my Government and myself to maintain and cement closer the friendly relations between the two countries, I greatly fear that these friendly relations would be endangered by the enforcement of the act. Accept, etc.,
Mr. Hlay to Mr. Wu.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, March 26, 1902. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note, No. 240, of the 22d instant, calling attention to some of the hardships which you believe will inevitably result to the subjects of China in case some of the legislation proposed in the bill now pending in Congress for the restriction of Chinese immigration to the United States should become a law.
In reply I have the honor to inform you that copies of your note have been sent to the Senate Committee on Immigration and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs for their information. Accept, etc.,
Mr. Wu to Mr. Hay.
Washington, April 29, 1902. Sir: I am informed that there has been passed a bill by the Congress of the United States prohibiting and regulating the coming of Chinese persons into the territory of the United States, and that the same only requires the signature of the President to become a law.
In view of this I desire to lay before you some considerations why the said bill should not become a law, and to ask you to submit them to His Excellency the President before he shall act upon the same.
I have heretofore in various notes brought to your attention the hardships which are inflicted by existing laws on the Chinese in the United States under the guarantees of the treaty, and I will not repeat them at this time. I desire now to confine my representations to one point only, to wit, the extension to the Hawaiian and Philippine Islands of the Chinese-exclusion laws in force in the mainland territory of the United States.
When the treaty of 1894 was negotiated the islands named did not belong to the United States, and it was not then expected that they would be annexed. Hence the subject of the exclusion of Chinese laborers from these islands was not considered. For many years Chinese subjects of all classes were admitted to the Hawaiian Islands, and for centuries they had been permitted to go to the Philippines. In the long course of generations there had been built up a large commerce between the neighboring cities of China and those islands. Social and domestic relations of the most intimate character had been established; there were intermarriages with the natives, and many thousands of Chinese had been born there. To cut them off suddenly from all intercourse with China would be a great wrong and hardship.
It is very certain that my Government would never have consented to the inclusion of the Hawaiian and Philippine Islands in any treaty which provided for the exclusion of Chinese. I respectfully submit that it is not in conformity with international law and the comity of nations to include in the operations of a treaty large numbers of people and a great extent of territory which were in no respect the subject of the treaty without first entering into new negotiations with the nation concerned and obtaining its consent therefor. In view of these considerations, I trust that His Excellency the President of the United States, who is distinguished for his high sense of justice, will not allow the bill under consideration to become a law until the objectionable features to which I have called attention shall be eliminated. Accept, etc.,
Mr. Hay to Mr. Wu. No. 221.]
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, April 30, 1902. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note, No. 243, of the 29th instant, presenting some considerations why the bill recently passed by Congress prohibiting and regulating the coming of Chinese persons to the territory of the United States should not become a law, and asking that the note be submitted to the President.
In reply I have the honor to say that a copy of the note has been sent to the President.
The note was received by the Department after the President had signed the bill. Accept, etc.,
Mr. Wu to Mr. Hay.
Washington, May 19, 1902. Sir: In view of the recent discussion in Congress and its action in continuing in force the laws for the exclusion of Chinese laborers from the United States, it becomes my duty to bring to your attention the present situation of the subject.
It seems to have been the purpose of the framers of the bills for the more rigid enforcement of the exclusion of the Chinese from the United States to adopt the regulations of the Immigration Bureau which limited the terms of the immigration treaties of 1880 and 1994 and, by inserting them in the provisions of the bills, to thus secure for these regulations the force of law. I refer especially, first, to the regulation that under the treaty no Chinese persons could be admitted except the five classes enumerated in Article III of the treaty of 1894; and, second, to the assumption of the Immigration Burean that it was in the power of the Secretary of the Treasury to add to the conditions set forth in the treaty other requirements as to merchants, teachers, students, etc., to enable them to secure admittance into the United States, and also other requirements for the return of Chinese laborers lawfully in the United States. All the rulings of the Treasury and immigration officials on those points were inserted in the bill which passed the House of Representatives, and likewise appeared in the bill which was reported from the Committee on Immigration to the Senate.
It will be seen by the lengthy debate which took place in the Senate that all these regulations of the Immigration Bureau were attacked by Senators who were learned lawyers and who characterized them as violations of the treaty. The sentiment of that distinguished body was so strongly against these provisions in the bill that as to some of them the advocates of the measures voluntarily abandoned their support of them and asked that they be stricken out of it. Even with the amendments, the bill was so objectionable to the Senate that it was defeated by a decided majority. And when the bill which finally became a law was passed it merely continued the legislation in force which had been enacted before the treaty of 1894, without any of the objectionable regulations of the Immigration Bureau, and with an express condition that these laws were “continued, so far as the same are not inconsistent with treaty obligations.” Hence I understand the action of Congress to have been in decided disapproval of the conduct and practice of that bureau under its late management, and against which it has been so often my unwelcome duty to remonstrate.
Within a period of two years it will be incumbent upon our respective Governments to determine whether the treaty of March 17, 1894, shall be continued for another period of ten years, and that decision will be greatly controlled by the manner in which the treaty and laws are enforced for the remainder of the term. As you know, my Government has repeatedly manifested its willingness to cooperate with that of the United States in securing the exclusion of Chinese laborers from the United States in accordance with the provisions of the treaty, and I desire now to give renewed assurance of its good disposition in that regard for the future. And that this cooperation may be most efficient have to suggest that the action of Congress in disapproving