The Minister in the Dominican Republic (Russell) to the Acting Secretary of State

No. 477

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your No. 288 of May 27 (File No. 639.003/55), in regard to an intention on the part of the Military Government to revise the tariff in Santo Domingo.

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I enclose herewith copies of Executive Order No. 280 creating the Dominican Tariff Commission. This Commission is now at work on a report to be submitted to the Military Governor recommending a reduction of the tariff on imports, due regard to be had to the provisions of the American–Dominican Convention of 1907.

I have [etc.]

William W. Russell

Executive Order No. 280, April 7, 1919, of the Military Government of Santo Domingo, Creating the Dominican Tariff Commission

1. By virtue of the powers vested in the Military Government of Santo Domingo, a commission to be known as “The Dominican Tariff Commission” is hereby created for the purpose of preparing a revision of the Dominican Customs Tariff for the consideration and approval of the Military Governor.

2. The Commission will be composed of:

  • Chairman, J. H. Edwards, Special Deputy General Receiver.
  • Member, Alfredo Ricart y O., Para Camara de Comercio Santo Domingo.
  • Member, Julio Senior, Special Inspector Customs Receivership.
  • Member, R. A. Alburquerque, Interventor de Aduana Santo Domingo.
  • Member, R. H. Vorfeld, From Washington, D. C.
  • Secretary, L. E. Lavandier, Official Translator Customs Receivership.

3. The Commission shall have its headquarters at the city of Santo Domingo in the office designated for that purpose by the Secretaria de Estado de Hacienda y Comercio, and will be called to meet by the Chairman at as early a date as practicable after the issuance of this order. The work of the Commission shall be conducted under the direction of the Chairman in accordance with instructions to be issued from time to time by the Military Governor.

4. The Commission is hereby authorized and directed to examine and make use of the statistical and other data compiled by the General Receiver of Dominican Customs relating to importations, exportations, and the application of the present tariff thereon; to consult with and invite suggestions from the General Receiver of Dominican Customs, importers, exporters, and other interested parties; and, in its discretion, to hold special sessions for hearing arguments on debatable points.

5. In order that the business interests involved may have as much time as possible in which to prepare for the inauguration of the revised tariff, the Commission is directed to submit its report not later than September 1, 1919, in such form that the new tariff may be published not later than October 1, 1919, to become effective on January 1, 1920.

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6. The Commission is hereby instructed to investigate and in its report recommend, so far as may be practicable, proper adjustment of inequitable rates or inconsistencies in the provisions of the present tariff; and, in general, to recommend an appreciable reduction of the rates of duty on imported articles which are not produced in quantity in this country and which are ordinarily classed as necessities in contrast to articles of luxury. In this connection the attention of the Commission is called to the stipulation in the American-Dominican Convention of February 8, 1907, which reads as follows:

“Until the Dominican Republic has paid the whole amount of the bonds of the debt its public debt shall not be increased except by previous agreement between the Dominican Government and the United States. A like agreement shall be necessary to modify the import duties, it being an indispensable condition for the modification of such duties that the Dominican Executive demonstrate and that the President of the United States recognize that, on the basis of exportations and importations to the like amount and to the like character during the two years preceding that in which it is desired to make such modification, the total net customs receipts would at such altered rates of duties have been for each of such two years in excess of the sum of $2,000,000.00 United States gold.”

and the Commission is directed to submit with its report the basis for the demonstration referred to in that stipulation.

7. The sum of $6,000.00 or such part thereof as may be necessary is hereby made available from funds not otherwise appropriated, to defray the expenses of the Commission; such expenses shall be incurred only upon specific authorization in advance by the Secretaria de Estado de Hacienda y Comercio, and vouchers drawn in accordance with such authorizations when approved by the Chairman of the Commission shall be paid in the usual manner and charged to this special appropriation.

8. The Dominican Tariff Commission shall cease to exist when the object for which it is created shall have been attained.

Thomas Snowden