Mr. Dichman to Mr. Evarts.
Bogota , November 7, 1878. (Received December 10.)
Sir: Inclosed is a letter addressed to me by the Hon. Salvador Camacho Roldan, secretary of foreign relations, on the subject of a reduction of the duty on Colombian tobacco in the United States in exchange for the free admission of American beer, and a reduction of 25 per cent. of the duty on American dry goods imported into this country.
As far as the trade with this country is concerned, the importance of the proposition cannot be overestimated. As Dr. Camacho points out, dry goods form the bulk of the importations into this country, and I am satisfied that, as they would all have to be bought in the United States, under a reduction of 25 per cent. in duty, all the other trade would follow. Nor would the free admission of American beer form an inconsiderable item, for beer of all kinds is kept out now by the prohibitive duty, and the free admission of American beer would cause a large trade in that article. Of course, I am not in a position to state how much the duty on Colombian tobacco can be reduced, but I am satisfied that the amount of tobacco which would be imported into the United States would be inconsiderable. But if we can have American dry goods admitted with a reduction of duty of 25 per cent., everything which this country will buy will have to come from the United States.
* * * * * * *
Situated as I am here, I can clearly see the time coming when everything worthy of the name of commerce will be transacted with or through the United States 5 when the railroads, bridges, and other public improvements in this country will be made by our people, and when not only all the advantages resulting from an exchange of commodities will accrue [Page 255] to our people, but when, owing to the increased stability of the Colombian institutions arising from a closer intercourse with the United States, and the influence which our government and people will then be able to exercise upon the affairs of Colombia, the export and import trade of this country will rise to proportions which will dwarf the present amount.
There is not an article produced in this country but what is needed in ours, and to secure the commercial advantages thus hastily outlined, the proposition which I inclose to-day is the first step in a commercial policy with this country, which I hope to be able to submit in person to the consideration of the Department.
* * * * * * *
I have, &c.,