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No. 65.

Mr. Bayard to Mr. Hubbard. No. 186.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, February 4, 1888. SIR: I have received your No. 417 of December 28, 1887, concerning the desire of Japan to enter into a conventiou for the abolition of tonnage or equivalent charges on merchant vessels plying between the United States and Japan.

A copy of your dispatch was at once communicated to the Secretary of the Treasury, a copy of whose reply, dated the 1st instant, is herewith transmitted. To enable full consideration of the subject and a definite reply to be made to the inquiry of the Japanese minister for foreign affairs as to the future status of Japanese and other vessels proceeding to the United States respecting navigation charges, it will be necessary to ascertain the amount of tax or taxes, equivalent to tonnage or light-house dues, imposed in Japan on American vessels.

You will therefore take occasion to obtain this information, which should be set forth in detail, if possible, in accordance with the suggestion of the Secretary of the Treasury. I am, etc.,

T. F. BAYARD.

[Inclosure in No. 186.)

Mr. Fairchild to Mr. Bayard.

TREASURY DEPARTMENT, February 1, 1883. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, dated the 24 h ultimo, relating to the proposal of the Government of Japan to take advantage of the provisions of the act of Congress approved June 19, 1806, entitled “An act to abolisi certain fees,” etc.

The copy of a letter from the Japanese minister for foreign affairs, accompanying the United States minister's dispatch, states that the charges in Japan are less than the dues ordinarily imposed in the United States, and inquires what the future statas of Japanese and other vessels proceeding to the United States will be iu respect of navigation charges.

Before replying to his inquiry, this Department suggests that information be obttained through the proper otticers of the United States in Japan as to the amount of tax or taxes, equivalent to tonnage or light-house dues, imposed in Japan on Amer. ican vessels. Not only the amount should be ascertained, but the frequency of the charge should be also stated, to enable this Department to determine the question which will arise under section 14 of the act of June 26, 1834, as amended by sectici 11 of the act of June 19, 1806. There should be also explicit information to shut whether or not the fees or dues, of any kind or nature, imposed on vessels of ibe United States, or the import or export dues on their cargoes, are in excess of the fees, dues, or duties imposed on the vessels of Japan or on the cargoes of such vessels. I am, etc.,

C, S. FAIRCHILD,

Secretary.

No. 66.

Mr. Hubbard to Mr. Bayard. No. 452.]

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

Tokio, March 20, 1888. (Received April 21.) Sir: Referring to your instructiou No. 186, dated February 4, concerning the desire of Japan to enter into a convention for the abolition of tonnage or other equivalent charges on merchant vessels plying be.

tween the ports of the United States and Japan, and in which instruction you directed mm, at the instance of the honorable the Secretary of the Treasury, to ascertain the amount of tax or taxes equivalent to tonnage or light-house dues imposed in Japan on American vessels, I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of the reply from the Japanese minister for foreign affairs to my note making said inquiries.

It will be observed that Count Okuma says that nearly all the information desired by the honorable Secretary of the Treasury is contained in the communication addressed to me by Count Ito on this subject on the 15th of September, 1887, a copy of which note I had the honor to inclose to the Department of State in my dispatch No.383 of September 24, 1887.

I beg, therefore, to invite the Department's attention to the following extract from the note of Count Ito referred to:

In order, therefore, that vessels interested may, to a limited extent at least, avail themselves of the benefits of the law, I beg to assure your excellency that vessels of the United States engaged in the foreign trade of Japan are in all respects placed upon an exact equality with national vessels engaged in the same trade, and upon the same footing as the vessels of the most favored nation. No tonnage or light does whatever are levied in the ports of Japan upon American vessels, but in lieu thereof and in lieu of all similar charges an entrance fee of $15 and a clearance fee of $7 at each entry and clearance, irrespective of burden, is collected from American vessels in common with all foreign-going ships.

I beg also to call the Department's attention to the closing paragraph of the note from Count Okuma which I have the honor to inclose herewith:

In order, however, that full and complete answers may be made to Mr. Fairchild's inquiries, I beg to supplement Count Ito's reply by the assurance 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. I have, etc.,

RICHARD B. HUBBARD.

[Iaclosure in No. 452.-Translation.)

Count Okuma to Mr. Hubbard.

DEPARTMENT FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS,

Tokio, the 14th day, the 3d month, the 21st year of Meiji. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 8th instant, with its accompaniments, in continuation of the subject of tonnage or other equivalent charges levied on merchant vessels plying between Japan and the United States.

Nearly all of tbe information on the subject desired by the honorable the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States is contained in the communication addressed to you by my predecessor, Count Ito, on the 15th September last, to which I have the honor to invite your attention.

In order, however, that full and complete answers may be made to Mr. Fairchild's inquiries, I beg to supplement Count Ito's reply by the assurance 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. I avail, eto,

COUNT OKUMA SHIGENOBU.

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 should be considered as equivalent to the tonnage 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 Government 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.

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(Inclosuro 1 in No. 210.)

Mr. Fairchild to Mr. Bayard.

TREASURY DEPARTMENT,

April 27, 1898. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated the Bth 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 statns 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,

Tashington, D. C., April 27, 1898. Sır: 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 tonnage or lighthouse dnes.

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. While admitting that these charges ard

imposed on all vessels, the Japanese Government proposes that action be taken by this Government, under section 11 of the act of June 19, 1854, 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 tonuage 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, tbis office has no information that the corresponding tax in Japan may not be levied an indefinite 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.

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No. 244.]

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

Mexico, October 10, 1887. (Received October 20.) SIR: I am only this moment 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 the Governmeut of the United States in the wise movement for the abolition of tonnage and equiralent charges on navigation.

I inclose a copy of Mr. Mariscal's note, translated, giving his reasons 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 Government to accept your invitation. The movement, you will observe, he admits is based on ex. 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-housesduties 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, 1857. Mr. MINISTER: Having requested of the Treasury Department a report respectiog the propositions contained in your excellency's note of August 18 with regard to the abolition, by reciprocal action, of tonnage dues and equivalent charges op navigation, I have the honor to reply to your excellency that, while not failing to recognize the 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, though it has notably improved in the last few years, still feels in too marked a manner the effects of the adverse 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 matter which at the present moment it would be extremely difficult to do.

With respect to the duties that are actually imposed on vessels 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, if so desired, to examine in detail the established (er. isting) duties in articles 17 to 20 of the general custom-house law, and in sections tbird, eighth, and tenth of the first article of the law of entries, issued on the 25th 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

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