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to give all necessary assistance in saving the ship and cargo, and measures are to be taken between the two classes of officers for the custody and sale of the wreck and cargo and the collection of duties.
309. Treaties affecting proceedings concerning wrecks have been made with Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Bolivia, Borneo, China, Corea, New Granada, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hawaiian Islands, Hayti, Honduras, Italy, Japan, Lew Chew, Liberia, Madagascar, Mexico, Morocco, Muscat, Netherlands, Ottoman Porte, Paraguay, Roumania, Salvador, Siam, Spain, Sweden and Norway, Tripoli, and Tunis.
310. Consular Officers will be careful to consult the text of these treaties in all cases in which they may have occasion to act under them. If the assistance stipulated for is refused in any case, or the treaty provisions are ignored in any respect, they will at once advise the Diplomatic Representative. of the United States, if there be one in the country, and the Department of State.
Provisions to be consulted.
Duties of Consular Officers in Respect of American or
311. The right of American citizens to acquire property Property in such in foreign ships has been held to be a natural right, independent of statutory law, and such property is neither more nor less entitled to protection by the United States than any other property of an American citizen.
312. The existing General Regulations of the Treasury Treasury Regu Department under the Customs and Navigation Laws (Customs Regulations, 1884) recognize the right of property in vessels of this character, and declare them to be entitled to the protection of the authorities and to the flag of the United States, although no register, enrollment, license, or other marine document prescribed by the laws of the United States can lawfully be issued to such vessels whether they are American or foreign built. The former practice of issuing sea-letters in the case of the purchase abroad of Ameri
Rights, how pro tevied.
Consular respon rib lity.
can or foreign vessels by citizens of the United States is no longer authorized. Nevertheless, though the issuing of sealetters to such ships is not now authorized, yet there would seem to be no good reason upon the face of our present legislation why the Department should not resume the practice, in case the United States should be a neutral in a war between maritime powers, if it should deem such letters more protective in their character than Consular or Customs certificates of sale.
313. But, in view of existing regulations, and to enable the owners of a vessel so situated to protect their rights, if molested or questioned, a Consular Officer, though forbidden by law to grant any marine document or certificate of ownership, may lawfully make record of the bill of sale in his office, authenticate its exccution, and deliver to the purchaser a certificate to that effect; certifying, also, that the owner is a citizen of the United States. Before granting such a certificate, the Consular Officer will require the tonnage of the vessel to be duly ascertained in pursuance of law, and insert the same in the description of the vessel in his certificate. (See Form No. 35.) These facts thus authenticated, if the transfer is in good faith, entitle the vessel to protection as the lawful property of a citizen of the United States; and the authentication of the bill of sale and of citizenship will be prima facie proof of such good faith.
314. The authority of a Consular Officer to authenticate the transfer of a foreign vessel is wide in its effects, and imposes great responsibility in making him, in the first instance at least, the sole judge of the good faith of the transaction. The question of the honesty and good faith of such a sale rises into the gravest importance in the event of a war between two or more powers, in which the Government of the United States is a neutral. In such a war experience justifies the expectation that the citizens or subjects of one or more of the belligerents will seek to protect their shipping by a transfer to a neutral flag. In some instances this may honestly be done; but the sales of the vessels of belligerents in apprehension of or in time of war are always and properly liable to suspicion, and they justify
the strictest inquiry on the part of the belligerent who may thereby have been defrauded of his right to capture the enemy's property. The acceptance of the pretended ownership of a vessel under these circumstances may be very profitable, and the temptation to abuse his trust in such a case, to which a Consular Officer is subjected, may be too great for persons of ordinary integrity, discernment, and firmness to withstand. Instances are not wanting in which citizens of the United States who were wholly incapable, from their previous well-known condition and pursuits, of making such a purchase, have appeared as owners under sales of this character and have sought for them the protection of the Government.
315. It is, accordingly, the duty of a Consular Officer to use all available means, especially during the existence of a war to which this Government is not a party, to satisfy himself that the sale of the vessel is made in good faith and without a fraudulent intent. A considerable discretion and responsibility rest upon him in the determination of the good faith of such transactions. It is not to be concluded that all such sales, even in time of peace, are honest and free from collusion or fraud. It is the duty of the Consular Officer to notice all circumstances that throw doubt on the good faith of the transaction, or point to its fictitious character, and, if he is satisfied in this respect, to refuse to grant his certificate. On the other hand, he is not permitted to regard the mere fact of the sale of a vessel to an American citizen as any evidence of fraud. The presumption must be otherwise; and in the absence of any indication of dishonesty, a sale in the regular way, with the usual business formalities, is to be regarded as made in good faith.
316. When, however, the Consular Officer shall have satisfied himself, after the investigation with which he is charged, that the sale of the vessel is not fictitious, and is made in good faith, and that the purchaser is a citizen of the United States, it is his duty, when requested, to record the bill of sale in the Consulate, and to deliver the original to the purchaser, with his certificate annexed thereto, ac
Careful investi gation enjoined.
Certificate, when to be issued.
Right to fly the flag.
Disabilities of such vessels,
Forfeiture and tonuage duties.
cording to Form No. 35. A copy of the bill of sale, together with any other papers belonging to the transfer, and of the Consular certificate, should be sent without delay to the Department of State, with a report of the facts and circumstances of the transaction.
317. The privilege of carrying the flag of the United States is under the regulation of Congress, and it may have been the intention of that body that it should be used only by regularly-documented vessels. No such intention, however, is found in any statute. And as a citizen is not prohibited from purchasing and employing abroad a foreign ship, it is regarded as reasonable and proper that he should be permitted to fly the flag of his country as an indication of ownership, and for the due protection of his property. The practice of carrying the flag by such vessels is now established. The right to do so will not be questioned, and it is probable that it would be respected by the courts.
318. It should be understood, however, that such foreignbuilt vessels not registered, enrolled, or licensed under the laws of the United States, although wholly owned by citizens thereof, cannot legally import goods, wares, or merchandise from foreign ports, and are subjected in the coasting trade to disabilities and exactions from which documented vessels of the United States are exempt.
319. On arrival from a foreign port, such undocumented foreign-built vessels, if laden with goods, wares, or merchandise, will, with their cargoes, be subjected to forfeiture. If in ballast only, or with passengers without cargo, they will be subject to a heavy tonnage duty. When in foreign ports they are also subject to tonnage and other Consular fees from which regularly-documented vessels are exempt. cular, July 25, For instructions respecting the shipment and discharge and relief of seamen on vessels of this character, and the collection of extra wages, Consular Officers are referred to the several Articles on these subjects.
Duties as to American Vessels Engaged in the Transportation of Chinese and other Emigrants.*
Chinese laborers, Act July 5, 1884. 23 Stat. at Large, 115.
320. By the act of July 5, 1884, it is provided that, from and after the passage of the act, and until the expiration of ten years therefrom, the coming of Chinese laborers to the United States is suspended; and during such suspension it is unlawful for any Chinese laborer to come, or having so come, to remain within the United States. The term Chinese laborer in the act is construed to mean both skilled and un- Opin. Att. Gen., killed laborers and Chinese employed in mining. But it March 3, 1887. does not include a Chinese servant accompanying a temporary visitor to the United States, nor persons passing through 1882. the United States on the way to some other country; nor does it apply to Chinese laborers who were in the United States November 17, 1880, or who shall have come into the United States before August 4, 1882. Such persons are entitled to receive from the Collector of Customs a certificate authorizing them to depart from and return to the United States.
Id., Dec. 26.
321. The act also provides that every Chinese person, chants, &c. other than a laborer, who may be entitled by treaty or this act to come within the United States, and who shall be about to come to the United States, shall obtain the permission of and be identified as so entitled by the Chinese Government, or of such other foreign Government of which at the time such Chinese person shall be a subject, in each case to be evidenced by a certificate issued by such Government, which certificate shall be in the English language, and shall show such permission, with the name of the permitted person in his or her proper signature, and which certificate shall state the individual, family, and tribal name in full, title or official rank, if any, the age, height, and all physical peculiarities, former and present occupation or profession, when and where and how long pursued, and place of
*The provisions of the acts of Congress, R. S., secs. 2158-2162, relating to the importation of coolies, are practically suspended by the act of July 5, 1884. It is not considered necessary, therefore, to reproduce them here, nor to give any instruction based upon them,