No. 160.
Mr. Seward to Mr. von Schlozer .

Sir: Referring to your note of the 8th ultimo, in relation to the requirement by certain United States consuls in Germany of samples of all goods exported to this country, I have now the honor to inclose a copy of a letter of the 26th of April last upon the subject, which has been received from the Secretary of the Treasury.

It is proper to state that those consuls have been directed to comply strictly with the instructions forbidding the exposure of samples to the observation of competitors.

Accept, &c.,

Acting Secretary.

Mr. Sherman to Mr. Evarts .

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated the 16th instant, transmitting a copy of a communication of the 8th instant from the German minister, in which he states that certain American consulates in Germany “constantly insist under all circumstances that the most accurate samples shall be delivered to them of every single variety of goods that are to be sent to the United States.”

The minister remarks that this requirement causes the shippers great trouble and inconvenience.

In reply to your request for an expression of the views of this department whether the samples should be required in all cases, I beg leave to state that, as you were advised in this department’s letter, dated July 21, 1877, if goods to be imported consist of standard articles of uniform character well known to the trade it will be sufficient [Page 236] to occasionally obtain and forward samples thereof in connection with shipments to any particular port in the United States, as representing such class of goods and to note the fact upon other invoices of the same description of merchandise sent to the same port.

The instructions upon the subject are explained in the circular to consular officers signed by Mr. Cadwallader July 10, 1876, and require the forwarding only of such samples as are usually deposited in the consulate under the requirements of article 473 of the consular regulations. Neither do they require that articles of considerable bulk, or of a frangible nature, should be forwarded; and the circular provides that in case of doubt whether a sample ought to be transmitted to the customs officers the decision of the question may be left to the consul.

The samples forwarded by the consuls are of value to the appraising officers in determining the proper classifications and dutiable value of imported merchandise, and this department is of opinion that the regulations upon the subject now in force can be observed without undue embarrassment to trade.

In view of the facts stated by the minister it is suggested that the attention of the consuls referred to be invited to the instructions above cited.

Very respectfully,

JOHN SHERMAN, Secretary.