Mr. Stenersen to Mr. Fish.
Washington , March 25, 1874. (Received March 26.)
Mr. Secretary of State: Under date of October 2, 1872, I had the honor to address you a note, the object of which was to ask, in favor of the line of steamers plying between Norway and the United States, the same exemption from payment in this country of tonnage, anchorage, beaconage, and light-house dues that has been granted to the Belgian steamers in virtue of the treaty between the United States and Belgium of July 17, 1858, and to obtain the restitution of the duties which have already been paid.
In reply to that note you were pleased, Mr. Secretary of State, to send me, under date of October 17, 1872, a copy of a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury, of the 10th of the same month, wherein the [Page 1118] said Secretary expressed his opinion that the treaty between Sweden and Norway and the United States of July 4, 1827, contains no stipulation authorizing the steamers of the line aforesaid to claim the privileges which have been granted to the Belgian line.
The Secretary added that if his decision was considered unjust, the parties interested might appeal to the courts.
I communicated this reply to my government, which has instructed me to try once more to obtain the recognition, diplomatically, of the rights which we claim, by submitting the question anew to the consideration of the American Government.
In obedience to these instructions, I take the liberty of calling your attention, Mr. Secretary of State, in the first place, to article 8 of the treaty of 1827, which is as follows:
The two high contracting parties engage not to impose upon the navigation between their respective territories, in the vessels of either, any tonnage or other duties of any kind or denomination which shall be higher or other than those which shall be imposed on every other navigation.
It seems to me very difficult, Mr. Secretary of State, not to admit that this article secures to each of the two contracting countries for their navigation to the other country in their own vessels the usage of the most favored nation in everything relating to “tonnage or other duties.”
In the second place, I take the liberty of observing to you, Mr. Secretary of State, that by article 17 of the treaty of 1827, it is stipulated that several articles of the treaty of April 3, 1783, between Sweden and the United States, shall be “revived, and made applicable to all the countries under thedominion of the present high contracting parties, and shall have the same force and value as if they were inserted in the context of the present treaty,” and that among the articles thus revived is the second, which reads thus:
The King and the United States engage, mutually, not to grant hereafter any particular favor to other nations in respect to commerce and navigation, which shall not inmediately become common to the other party.
It seems to me impossible, Mr. Secretary of State, to find, in a treaty, terms more explicit, and bearing more directly upon questions of the nature of that which now occupies our attention.
It is, therefore, in basing my request upon these direct and formal terms of existing treaties that, with full confidence in the sentiments of justice and good will which actuate the Government of the United States, I have the honor to beg you, Mr. Secretary of State, to be pleased again to take into consideration the subject of my note of October 2, 1872, and to use your good offices to the end that the request therein made may be granted.
I avail, &c,