Mr. Reuterskiöld to Mr. Bayard.
Washington, November 15, 1886. (Received November 16.)
Mr. Secretary of State: I had the honor to transmit to your excellency, as an inclosure to my note of the 30th of June last, a copy of a dispatch from his excellency the minister of foreign affairs at Stockholm, bearing date of the 12th of the month, and stating the reasons which cause the Royal Government to maintain the position which it took in claiming a reduction of the tonnage duty to from 3 to 15 cents per ton on vessels belonging to the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway and entering the ports of the United States.
In the mean time a bill (Public, No. 85) entitled, “An act to abolish certain fees for official services to American vessels and to amend the laws relating to shipping commissioners, seamen, and owners of vessels, and for other purposes,” has been passed by Congress, and the President of the United States, by approving the said bill, has made it a law.
The provisions of this new law have been brought by me to the knowledge of my Government.
The Royal Government, having examined the provisions of this law, has found that it is in several respects manifestly at variance with the treaty now in force which was concluded between the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway and the United States July 4, 1827, inasmuch as, in certain cases, it favors American vessels above those of the United Kingdoms, this being in contravention of that clause of the above-mentioned treaty which places our vessels on “the same footing as national vessels.”
I have consequently been instructed to protest, in the name of the King’s Government against these legal provisions, which are in violation of an existing treaty, and also to declare that the Royal Government can not regard the act of June 19, 1886, as modifying in the slightest degree the situation of the United Kingdoms in respect to the United States, as that situation is established by the force of a treaty.
The Royal Government has likewise found, by examining this new law, that the United States Government maintains its position on the tonnage question, against which position we also protest.[Page 1895]
In the new law the United States Government goes still farther than it does in the shipping act of June 26, 1884, the scope of that act having been enlarged, and the question of the diminution or entire abolition of tonnage dues having assumed another character, viz, that of reciprocity. In this connection I am instructed to state that, as reciprocity did not form the basis of the facilities granted to certain countries and their vessels, my Government maintains its views with regard to the duties which should undoubtedly, in its opinion, be imposed upon navigation between Sweden and Norway and the United States.
I think it proper for me to add that the Royal Government confidently expects a speedy and full settlement of the questions stated in the present note, and in those which I have had the honor to address to you on the same subject.
Be pleased, etc.,