to Mr. Westenberg.
Washington , December 31, 1873.
Sir: Referring to your notes of the 19th of February and the 10th of November last, both of which were submitted by this Department to the Treasury Department, I have now the honor to inclose a copy of a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury, of the 22d instant, in which he states that before considering the question raised by you it will be necessary to be informed whether, by the language “les droits differentiel sont abolis en principe à partis du 1er Janvier, 1874,” it is to be understood that all such duties are to be actually and in fact abolished. It also appears by that letter that the Treasury Department desires to be informed whether the government of the Netherlands claims the exemption of tea and coffee from the discriminating duty levied by the Government [Page 787] of the United States in pursuance of article 5 of the convention of August 26, 1852, or whether it proposes for the consideration of this Government the abolition of all discriminations as against East India goods on the part of such country toward the other, as a question of international policy and comity outside of any treaty obligations?
I take the liberty of asking your excellency to enable me to respond to these inquiries of the Treasury Department, and avail, &c.