Mr. Reuterskiöld to Mr. Bayard.
Washington, October 4, 1885. (Received October 8.)
Mr. Secretary of State:
By section 14 of the act approved June 26, 1884, the object of which was “to remove certain burdens on the American merchant marine and encourage the American foreign carrying trade, etc.,” a tonnage duty of 3 cents per ton, not to exceed in the aggregate 15 cents per ton in any one year, was substituted for the duty of 6 cents per ton, not to exceed 30 cents per ton per annum, in the case of vessels arriving from certain countries therein enumerated.
On the other hand, the treaty concluded July 4, 1827, between the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway and the United States of America declares, in Article VIII, as follows:
The two high contracting parties engage not to impose upon the navigation between their respective territories, in the vessels of either, any tonnage or other duties of any kind or denomination which shall be higher or other than those which shall be imposed on every other navigation, except that which they have reserved to themselves, respectively, by the sixth article of the present treaty,
which exception has reference to coastwise navigation.
Consequently the Government of the King is of opinion that vessels coming from Sweden and Norway should enjoy the benefit of the reduction of the tonnage duty provided for in section 14 of the act of June 26, 1884. The royal Government thinks that there can be no doubt whatever with regard to this right, since the treaty in force expressly provides that no higher duties than those which shall be imposed on every other navigation shall be imposed upon navigation between the respective territories, and that, consequently, vessels arriving from our ports have an absolute right to profit by any reduction allowed to vessels coming from any port whatever, whether such reduction as regards certain ports is based upon their geographical situation or their nationality.
Having been instructed to communicate the views of my Government on this subject officially to the Government of the United States, I have, in obedience to orders received, the honor to ask that the reduction of the tonnage duty to 3 cents per ton, not to exceed in the aggregate 15 cents per ton in any one year, may be extended to vessels from Sweden and Norway.
I avail, etc.,