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United States Department of State / The executive documents of the House of Representatives for the first session of the fiftieth Congress. 1887-'88
(1887-1888)

Spain,   pp. 975-1035 PDF (27.5 MB)


Page 976


976                          FOREIGN     RELATIONS.
men without a passport from the civil governor, upon the ground that the
master
would thereby transgress the local law, and, in consequence, expose the ship
to a
fine, besides to a good deal of trouble. In order not to inconvenience the
master
or bring trouble upon the ship, I complied with the request of the consignees,
and
asked for and obtained the visa of the civil governor, though I do not believe
that
outside of the islands of Cuba and Porto Rico a passport is required for
the shipping
home of discharged seamen of any nation.
   Inclosure No. 3 is copy of an introductory card from Mr. Guillermo Zaldo,
of Messrs.
 Hidalgo & Co., agents here of the Alexandre and Ward lines of American
steamers,
 in favor of Mr. Henry Draper, the writer of the letter copied under inclosure
4.
   As Mr. Draper represents, he left New York in the steamship City of Alexandria
for
 Mexico, in company with two American ladies; but owing to the very rough
passage
 from New York, the ladies became sick, and left the ship in this port and
went to a
 hotel to recover, resolving to desist from the continuance of the voyage,
and to go
 back home on the return trip of the same steamer from Vera Cruz, But upon
Mr.
 Draper calling at the office of the-agents to arrange for their passage
to New York, he
 was told that it could not be given him unless he presented a passport for
himself and
 the ladies. At this juncture he came to the consulate, and, after handing
me his let-
 ter explaining the facts of his case, I addressed a communication to the
civil governor
 of the province, asking to be informed, officially, if passports were necessary
in this
 instance. A copy of this communication is contained in inclosure No. 5.
No answer
 has yet been returned to me from the civil governor, but a passport was
issued gratis
 for this party, the only expense incurred being a stamp of 5 cents, collected
under the
 new stamp act.
   Inclosure No. 6 is copy of a letter from Mr. P. M. Moffer, another American
citizen
 who, having come here to do some work for an oil refinery of this city,
was refused
 passage to return to New York. This office had likewise to interpose in
his behalf.
 A passport was then issued to him on the payment of a stamp of live cents.
   Inclosure No. 7 is a letter from Messrs. Lawton Brothers, a highly respectable
 American firm of this city, and agents of the" Morgan" and "Plants'
lines of steamers,
 plying, respectively, between New Orleans, Tampa, Key West, and this port;
and
 Tampa, via Key West; also with this port. In this letter Messrs. Lawton
Brothers
 report that the consul of Spain in Key West has informed Purser Giroux,
of the
 steamer Hutchinson, that he will refuse clearance for Havana to any steamer
whose
 passengers do not all possess passports visaed by a Spanish consul.
   Inclosure No. 8 is copy of a letter received from Sister M. Francis Mitchell,
ad-
 dressed to this office from the Convent of the Good Shepherd on the 7th
instant, in-
 forming me that the civil governor had refused to issue a passport gratis
to return to
 New Orleans iu favor of a poor American girl who had been given refuge at
that
 convent. Under date of the 8th instant I wrote to the civil governor, presenting
this
 case to his attention and consideration, and presume my request will have
been
 granted.
 The above few sample cases will give the Department an idea of the many
vex-
 atious experienced by American visitors, as well as of the extra labor thrown
on this
 office by the passport system ruling in this island. Our citizens on going
abroad are
 not subfjected to this sort of inconvenience by the Governments of the continental
or
 other insular neighbors of the United States. Rather to the contrary, facilities
are
 given for the at~traction, instead of the presentation of obstacles for
the repulsion of
 American visitors.
 In submitting these facts to your consideration, it is in the hope that
if a total sup-
 pression of passports between the United States and Cuba can not be obtained,
at
 least some mitigation of the present annoyances may be reached by the Department
 either through its relation with the minister of Spain at Washington or
through our
 minister at Madrid.
      I am, etc.,
                                                          RAMON O. WILLIAMS.
                          [Inclosure 1 to inclosure in No. 141.1
                     Mr. Williams to the civil governor of Cuba.
                                      UNITED Ă½STATES CONSULATt1t-.XE1nAL,
                                                       fHavana, October 29,
1886.
  ExconLvncy: I have the honor to inform your excellency that by the steamer
Ni-
agara, which arrived from New York on the 28th instant, Messrs. Anthony P.
Hamil-
ton and Christopher Ahrens, citizens of the United States, came passengers
en route
to Mexico.


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