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No. 67.

Mr. Bayard to Mr. Hubbard.

No. 210.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, May 2, 1888. SIR: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 452 of March 20, 1888, touching the subject of tonnage or other equivalent charges leviable on merchant vessels plying between Japan and the United States, and to inclose, for your information, a copy of a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury of the 27th ultimo relative thereto. Mr. Fairchild's letter covers a report to him upon the subject by the Commissioner of Navigation, who reviews the statements of the Japanese Government, and concludes that the fees levied by that Government on vessels of the United States ó should be considered as equivalent to the tondage tax levied in this country. The tax in Japan may therefore be considered as offsetting that in the United States, and no action should be taken to reduce the existing tax on vessels from Japan unless the Gor. ernment of that country shall modify its laws favorably to American vessels."

It will be further observed that the Secretary of the Treasury is " not at present aware of any good reason for dissenting from the opinions he (the Commissioner of Navigation) expresses in regard to the matter." I am, etc.,

T. F. BAYARD.

(Inclosure 1 in No. 210.)

Mr. Fairchild to Mr. Bayard.

TREASURY DEPARTMENT,

April 27, 1888. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated the 25th instant, transmitting a copy of a dispatch from the United States minister at Tokio (No. 452), relative to an inquiry by the Japanese Government as to the status of Japanese vessels in the United States, and substantially suggesting a reduction of the tax in the United States on vessels from Japan.

A copy of a report upon the subject from the Commissioner of Navigation is inclosed herewith for your information. I am not at present aware of any good reason for dissenting from the opinions he expresses in regard to the matter. Respectfully yours,

C. S. FAIRCHILD.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 210.)

Mr. Morton to Mr. Fairchild.

TREASURY DEPARTMENT,

BUREAU OF NAVIGATION,

Washington, D. C., April 27, 1888. Sir: I have the honor to report that this office has taken measures to ascertain the charges on American vessels in the ports of Japan equivalent to tondage or lighthouse dues.

It is found that the sum of $15 is collected upon the entry of such vessels in those ports, and the sum of $7 upon clearance. Whilo admitting that these charges are

imposed on all vessels, the Japanese Government proposes that action be taken by this Government, under section 11 of the act of June 19, 1804, to relieve vessels arriving in the United States from Japan, of tonnage dues.

In the letter from the Japanese minister for foreign affairs, which accompanied the communication of the Secretary of State, dated January 24, 1888, it was suggested that the charges in Japan were less than the dues ordinarily imposed in the United States, and the minister inquired what the future status of Japanese and other vessels proceeding to the United States would be, in respect to navigation charges. The matter was further referred to in the letter of the Japanese minister for foreign affairs accompanying the communication from the Secretary of State, dated the 25th instant, it being therein stated that no higher fees or dues, of any kind or nature, are imposed on vessels of the United States than are imposed on Japanese vessels, and that no higher import or export duties are levied on the cargoes of vessels of the United States than are levied on the cargoes of Japanese vessels.

Under the existing regulations, Japanese vessels are admitted into the ports of the United States on the same terms as the vessels of the United States, and no discrimination is made against any vessels by reason of their arrival in the United States from Japan. All such vessels, however, must enter in the United States subject to the maximum tax imposed by the section of law above cited, there being no proclamation of the President authorizing their admission at a less rate. In the opinion of this office, such a proclamation, under the existing circumstances, would be inadmissible, for the reason that the fees levied by the Japanese Government as aforesaid on vessels of the United States should be considered as equivalent to the tonnage tax levied in this country.

It is true, as mentioned by the Japanese minister, that the amount collected on any particular entry may be somewhat less than that imposed on the entry of a vessel of similar size in the United States. But while the tax is levied in this country not to exceed five times in any one year, this office has no information that the corresponding tax in Japan may not be levied an indetinite number of times within a year, that is to say, on each entry and clearance of any vessel, however often such entry and clearance may occur. The tax in Japan may therefore be considered as offsetting that in the United States, and no action should be taken to reduce the existing tax on vessels from Japan, unless the Government of that country shall modify its laws favorably to American vessels. Respectfully, yours,

C. B. MORTON,

Commissioner.

MEXICO.

No. 68.

Mr. Manning to Mr. Bayard.

No. 204.]

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

Mexico, August 31, 1887. (Received September 14.) SIR: Referring to your circular, dated July 9, 1887, suggesting the abolition of tonnage duties and equivalent charges on navigation, I have to report that the same was forwarded to Mr. Mariscal, and he has replied that he has sent the circular to the treasury department, requesting information on the subject. I am, etc.,

TH. C. MANNING.

No. 69.

Mr. Connery to Mr. Bayard.

No. 244.]

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

Mexico, October 10, 1887. (Received October 20.) SIR: I am only this m ent in receipt of a note from Mr. Mariscal, dated the 20th ultimo, and addressed to Mr. Manning, in regard to the invitation contained in your printed circular of July 9, this year, to the Government of Mexico, to co-operate with tủe Government of the United States in the wise movement for the abolition of tonnage and equira lent charges on navigation.

I inclose a copy of Mr. Mariscal's note, translated, giving his reasous why, in the the present straitened condition of the finances of his country, and while its mercantile marine is but yet in its infancy, it would be impossible for the Mexican Goveryment to accept your invitation. The movement, you will observe, he admits is based on er. cellent principles, but he adds that in Mexico's present situation the advantages would be all on one side, as her vessels are few and engaged mainly in the coasting trade, while the revenues of the country are chiefly derived from the duties levied through her custom-bousesduties which could not be dispensed with in the absence of some other and better plan to supply the Government with the necessary funds. I am, etc.,

THOMAS B. CONNERY.

(Inclosure in No. 244.- Translation.)
Mr. Mariscal to Mr. Manning.
DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS,

Mexico, September 20, 1807. Mr. MINISTER: Having requested of the Treasury Department a report respecting the propositions contained in your excellency's note of August 18 with regard to ile abolition, by reciprocal action, of tounage dues and equivalent charges op navigation, I have the honor to reply to your excellency that, while not failing to recognize tbe excellence of the bases indicated by your Government with the object of arriving at an agreement on the subject, the Government of Mexico is not able at the present time to accept such propositions, for the reason that in the present condition of the mercantile marine of the Republic the reciprocity would be illusory in view of the fact that the vessels of which it is composed are very few, and are employed for the greater part simply in the coasting trade.

On the other hand, the economical state of the country, thongh it has notably improved in the last few years, still feels in too marked a manner the effects of the ad. verse circumstances that operated against it in the past to warrant the treasury in dispensing with legitimate sources of revenue that it has gone on collecting, unless another manner of supplying the revenue could be conveniently substituted; a mat. ter which at the present moment it would be extremely difficult to do.

With respect to the duties that are actually imposed on ressels in the ports of the Republic, I have the honor to assure your excellency that none of these duties are imposed specially on vessels of the United States or any other State, but that the reg. ulations are general for all foreign nations alike.

Your excellency will be able, it so desired, to examine in detail the established (es. isting) duties in articles 17 to 20 of the general custom-house law, and in sections third, eighth, and tenth of the first article of the law of entries, issued on the 2eth of April of this year.

While assuring your excellency that on the part of the Mexican Government there exists the strongest desire to maintain and encourage commercial relations with the United States, it pleases me to reiterate, etc.,

IGNO. MARISCAL

THE NETHERLANDS.

No. 70.

Mr. Bayard to Mr. Bell. No. 81.)

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, January 5, 1887. SIR: Soon after the approval of the so-called “Dingley" shipping act of June 26, 1884, the governments of several European countries laid claim to an extension to their commerce of the privilege conceded to neighboring navigation, under the fourteenth section of that act.

The correspondence on the subject is printed in the inclosed executive document. The Government of the Netherlands did not then claim the benefits of the act under the most favored nation stipulations of treaty with the United States.

On the 19th of June last an amendatory act was approved, by the eleventh section of which reciprocal arrangements with foreign countries were authorized, looking to the reduction or abolition of tonnage dues. Since the passage of that act the Netherlands Government has offered to enter into the proposed reciprocal understandings. Copy of Mr. de Weckherlin's note of the 8th November, 1886, is inclosed for your information.

A delay has arisen in making the favorable response which is due alike to the soundness of the Netherlands' request and to the good spirit which has apparently prompted that Government to refrain from a technical demand, and to resort to the channels generously provided by our legislation for drawing closer our commercial relations with other States.

It would probably have a good effect if you were to intimate unoffi. cially and in conversation to his excellency the satisfaction we feel at the form of the Netherlands' proposal and our hope that an arrangement may be speedily reached.

As illustrating the character of the claim preferred by other governments, I inclose for your information copies of recent correspondence on the subject had with the Swedish and Norwegian minister at this capital. I am, etc.,

T. F. BAYARD.

No. 71.

Mr. Bell to Mr. Bayard.

No. 214.)

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, The Hague, January 21, 1887. (Received February 3.) SIR: I have the honor to report to you that as soon as a favorable opportunity presented after the receipt of your dispatch No. 81, of Jan. uary 5, I called unofficially upon his excellency the minister of foreign affairs, to communicate to him the gratification of the Government of the United States at the friendly form of the proposal of His Majesty's Government as presented through Mr. Weckherlin's note of the 8th of November, 1886, respecting a reciprocal arrangement looking to the

abolition of tonnage dues in the case of vessels engaged in navigation between the two countries.

In compliance with the request contained in your dispatch, I intimated unofficially, in conversation with his excellency, that the Gorernment of the United States was eminently gratified with the good spirit which had apparently prompted the Government of His Majesty in resorting to the channels generously provided by our legislation for drawing closer our relations with other States.

I took occasion at the same time to express my confidence that the Government of the United States fully recognized the soundness of the request made by His Majesty's Government, and that an arrangement would doubtless be speedily reached whereby the benefits of the act of June 19, 1886, would be extended to those ports in the Kingdom of the Netherlands and such ports in the Dutch East Indies as fulill the conditions required by the act in question.

His excellency, after having expressed great pleasure at the information which I communicated to him, replied in substance that he was very solicitous for an early adoption of the necessary measures, as he was constantly in receipt of reclamations upon the subject from interested parties.

His excellency referred especially to the steam-ship lines plying between the ports of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and New York, which he said were now strugging for an existence, and, while adding that every extra expense was very hard for them to bear, expressed considerable anxiety to know when it is likely that the necessary arrangements will be consummated.

In conclusion, I may add that my entire interview with his excellency was most cordial, and his expressions of satisfaction were undisguised both at the nature of the communication and the manner of your in. structions. I have, etc.,

ISAAO BELL, JE.

No. 72.

Mr. Bayard to Mr. Bell.

No. 82.)

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, February 10, 1887. SIR: Your dispatch No. 214, of the 21st ultimo, in which you give an account of your recent interview with the Netherlands minister of foreign affairs respecting the subject of the reciprocal abolition of tonnage dues, has been received and read with interest.

Referring to my instruction No. 81, of the 5th ultimo, I now transmit to you herewith, as further illustrating the views of this Government on the subject, a copy of House bill No. 10703, and also of the Department letter of the 14th ultimo to the chairman of the Shipping Committee of the House of Representatives.

Adding that your dispatches, numbered from 199 to 214, have been received, I am, etc.,

T. F. BAYABD.

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