Mr. Beuterskiöld to Mr. Bayard.
Washington, November 11, 1885. (Received November 12.)
Mr. Secretary of State:
I have had the honor to receive your excellency’s note of the 7th instant, relative to the enforcement of the provisions of section 14 of the shipping act approved June 26, 1884, as regards tonnage duties.
After having, on the 17th of June last, sent your excellency a memorandum on this subject, I addressed to you, under date of the 4th of the following October, an official note, in which I stated the view taken of this question by the King’s Government, and asked, in obedience to the instructions which I had received, that the redaction of the tonnage duty provided for in section 14 might be made applicable to vessels coming from Sweden and Norway.
As your excellency has seen, both by my aforesaid note and by the memorandum, the royal Government, in making this request, did not do so on the ground of Article II of the treaty of 1783 (which was continued in force by that of 1827), which article has reference to the usage to be accorded to the most favored nation, but it took as the basis of its claim, Article VIII of the treaty of 1827, which reads thus:
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.
Under these circumstances the royal Government can not consider its claim as having been set aside by the statement made by your excellency in your note of the 7th instant, since the refusal of the United States Government to extend to vessels coming from Sweden and Norway [Page 1890] the benefit of the-reduction of the tonnage duty provided for in section 14 of the aforesaid act, was based solely upon its interpretation of the most-favored-nation clause, to which clause my Government did not appeal.
I consequently have the honor again to submit the claim of my Government to the consideration of the United States Government, begging it to be pleased to consider the clearness with which Article VIII of the treaty of 1827—which article constitutes the basis of the claim—provides that neither of the contracting parties shall impose any tonnage duty higher or other than that imposed on every other navigation.
I trust that the United States Government will think that Article VIII of the treaty of 1827 is susceptible of no interpretation differing from that of my Government, according to which navigation between the territories of the contracting parties, in vessels belonging to either nation, is entitled to the benefit of the reduction of tonnage duties established by section 14 in behalf of navigation between the United States and certain territories therein enumerated.