Mr. Bayard to Mr. Fairchild.
Washington, June 2, 1887.
Sir: Referring to correspondence heretofore had with your Department, touching the claim of certain foreign Governments to enjoy in the maritime intercourse between their countries and the United States, and under cover of treaty provisions asserted to meet the case, all the advantages of the reduction of tonnage dues provided in the shipping acts of 1884 and 1888, I have the honor to hand you herewith printed copies of correspondence lately had with the Government of Sweden and Norway on the subject of the especial claim put forth by that Government under its treaties with the United States and particularly under article 8 of the treaty of 1827.
This correspondence discloses the fact that in 1828, the situation being apparently reversed, the Government of the United States claimed from Sweden and Norway the enjoyment for vessels of the United States proceeding thither from the United States of certain reductions of tonnage dues provided by the legislation of Norway for vessels entering the ports of that country from Mediterranean ports, and that the demand of Mr. Clay under the terms of the said article 8 was then assented to and a refund of duties ordered in favor of American vessels affected by the Norwegian tonnage discrimination.
The fact that our vessels then enjoyed a pecuniary advantage claimed seems to estop the Government of the United States, in honor, from further contesting the point and to render necessary provision for extending forthwith to vessels of Sweden and Norway coming to the United States from Sweden and Norway the reduction of tonnage claimed, being the 3–15 cent rate. Such action will also involve application to Congress to repay the tonnage in excess of this rate charged on such Swedish and Norwegian vessels, since the fourteenth article of the shipping act of 1884 took effect, and simple equity would require that Congress also be asked to make provision for the past and present relief of vessels under the United States flag, so that the treaty engagement with Sweden and Norway may not continue to work a positive discrimination against home vessels and in favor of foreign shipping.
Before making final answer to the Swedish and Norwegian minister I beg you to inform me whether your Department is prepared to put into operation at once the 3–15 cent rate in respect of the Swedish and Norwegian vessels making the voyage stated. To aid your judgment I submit, confidentially, a draughtcopy of my proposed reply to the Swedish and Norwegian minister’s note.
I have, etc.,