No. 502.
Mr. Westenberg to Mr. Fish.


Mr. Secretary of State: By my communication of the 19th of February last I had the honor to inform your excellency of the adoption, by law, of a new tariff of import and export duties for the Dutch East Indies, whereby discriminating duties are to be abolished in principle from January 1, 1874, and whereby, moreover, all import duties which are henceforth to be uniform are, with few exceptions, to be reduced to the moderate rate of 6 per cent. ad valorem, while the export duties which are levied upon indigo, coffee, sugar, and tin, when shipped to foreign countries, have been considerably reduced.

On that occasion I transmitted to your excellency a copy of this law,* promising to send an official translation at a future time.

In informing your excellency of these new regulations, so eminently liberal, which had been adopted by the government of the Netherlands, I expressed, in its name, a feeling of confidence that the Government of the United States would be disposed to abolish in favor of the Netherlands the discriminating duty of 10 per cent, which is levied in the United States upon productions from countries lying east of the Cape of Good Hope, and imported into America indirectly from European ports.

I added that the government of the Netherlands thought itself the [Page 785] more entitled to hope that the Government of the United States would grant this abolition in its favor, inasmuch as its confidence was based, first, upon the treaties in force between the two countries, and especially upon article 5 of the additional convention of August 26, 1852, and upon the great principles of reciprocity which the United States observe as their rule of conduct.

I took the liberty of remarking to your excellency, at the same time, that the reason why the Dutch law of November 17, 1872, was not to take effect until January 1, 1874, was that the government of the Netherlands desired to be able to abrogate its liberal measures in case other governments should not be disposed to grant the reciprocity which the government of the Netherlands thought it might expect in this matter, a reciprocity which can but favor and advance the real interests of mutual commerce and navigation.

In the reply with which your excellency honored me, under date of February 28, you informed me that the question would be taken into due consideration as soon as I should have sent you an official translation of the said tariff.

In accordance with this desire, I sent, with my communication of the 9th of April last, an English translation of the tariff prepared for commercial purposes. I now take the liberty of again presenting this question to the attention of your excellency, in order that, by a favorable decision, American commerce may be enabled to profit, without delay, by the advantages which will accrue to it from this tariff, and to this effect I have the honor to send inclosed a translation of the tariff in the French language, published under the immediate auspices of the government, which can therefore be considered entirely official.

Hoping to be honored with a reply, I avail myself of this occasion to offer you, Mr. Secretary of State, the renewed assurances of my very high consideration.

  1. See report on Commercial Relations for 1873, page 881.