Mr. Taylor to Mr. Gresham.

No. 288.]

Sir: I have the honor to report that on Saturday the 12th instant the minister of state, by authority of the Government, read in the Cortes the project of law designed to put into immediate effect the new modus vivendi. A copy of said law, with translation, is inclosed herein. I have been informed by two of the political representatives of Senor Canovas, the leader of the opposition, that the proposed law will be permitted to pass without objection from that source. Inclosed please find (with translation) to that effect a statement made by El Estandarte, Señor Canovas’s personal organ.1 On Saturday night, the 12th instant, I informed you of these facts by telegram.

I am, etc.,

Hannis Taylor.
[Page 634]
[Inclosure—Translation—From El Imparcial, January 13, 1895.]

The Modus Vivendi with the United States.

The minister of state read in the Congress yesterday the following project of law:

To the Cortes:

The second column of the general customs tariff for the islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico is applied to-day to all nations except Germany, where the products of the Antilles are subjected to a material overcharge, and the United States, in which, since the termination of the reciprocity arrangement of 1891, our products still enjoy the same treatment as other countries, while that treatment is not applied to those of the United States in Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Reasons, therefore, of equity suggest the putting an end to a situation which can not be prolonged without exposing the commerce of the Antilles to suffer the right of reprisal, with which, by a special law, the President of the United States is invested. To avoid that the Government of His Majesty has agreed with the Cabinet at Washington that if it will oblige itself to promise us the most-favored-nation treatment, Spain will in the meanwhile apply to North American products in Cuba and Puerto Rico the second column of the tariff now in force. This modus vivendi will continue until a definitive treaty of commerce shall be concluded between the interested parties or until one of them signifies to the other, after three months’ notice, its desire to terminate it.

Based upon these considerations the minister who subscribes hereto, authorized by His Majesty and by the judgment of the council of ministers, has the honor to submit to the approval of the Cortes, the following:

project of law.

Article 1. The Government is authorized to apply to the products and manufactures of the United States—which proceeding from the ports of said States may be admitted into those of Cuba and Puerto Rico—the second column of the tariff in force in the same, in exchange for the application by the United States of its lowest tariffs to the products of the soil and of the industry of Cuba and Puerto Rico.

This modus vivendi will continue until a definitive treaty may be executed between the two parties interested or until one of them announces to the other, after three months’ notice, the day upon which it desires to terminate it.

The commission which will be required to report upon the modus vivendi with the United States will be composed of Señores Fernandez Laza, Duque de Almodovar, Urzaiz, Yillanueva (D. Miguel), Moya, Perojo, and Rodriguez San Pedro.

  1. Not printed.