Mr. Muruaga to Mr. Gresham.
Washington, September 21, 1894.
The undersigned, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of Spain, has the honor to address the honorable Secretary of State, to pray him to be kind enough to solicit from the honorable Secretary of the Treasury the competent intrepretation of paragraph 165 of the new tariff law in regard to lead.
The said paragraph established that argentiferous ore and all other ores that may contain lead shall pay three-fourths of a cent per pound on the lead contained in them, but it does not specify the duties to be levied on the silver contained in lead ores.
The undersigned would also desire the honorable Secretary of the Treasury to state whether the sworn declaration made by the consignee that the lead unshipped by him in the United States is not argentiferous will be considered sufficient, or whether, in spite of said declaration, the lead will have to undergo expert analysis at the custom-houses on landing.
Several Spanish houses interested in the lead trade with the United States are anxious to know the official interpretation of the cases above mentioned, and the legation of His Majesty will be grateful to be furnished with the proper decision of them.
The undersigned, etc.,