Mr. Preston to Mr. Evarts.
Washington, January 16, 1879.
The undersigned, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of Hayti, has the honor to inform the honorable Secretary of State of the United States that, after a long correspondence between the American legation at Port au Prince and the department of state of foreign relations of Hayti, in relation to a law entitled, “A law permitting the collection of fees for visés in foreign countries by the consuls or agents of the republic,” which has resulted in no definite settlement of the matter, the Government of Hayti has decided to transfer the question to Washington, and to communicate this decision to the minister resident of the United States.
The undersigned having received a copy of all the documents having reference to this question, has examined it with all the attention that it deserves, and is convinced of the legality of the action of his government. He hereby submits the question to the examination of the Department of State, hoping that the Federal Government will reach the same conclusion.
It is difficult, in fact, to understand how the minister resident of the United States in Hayti could protest against the law of August 23, 1877, on the ground that it is in violation of the spirit and letter of the treaty of 1864, between the Governments of the United States and Hayti. In order to elucidate the matter which forms the subject of this communication, the undersigned thinks it will be sufficient for him to lay before the Hon. Mr. Evarts the text of the aforesaid law, which was published in the official journal of the Republic of Hayti, August 25, 1877 (Inclosure [Page 584] A), and the three following articles of the treaty which have reference thereto:
Art. X. The high contracting parties hereby agree that whatever kind of produce, manufactures, or merchandise of any foreign country can be, from time to time, lawfully imported into the United States in their own vessels, may also be imported in the vessels of the Republic of Hayti, and no higher or other duties upon the tonnage or cargo of the vessels shall be levied or collected than shall be levied or collected of the vessels of the most favored nation.
And, reciprocally, whatever kind of produce, manufactures, or merchandise of any foreign country can be, from time to time, lawfully imported into Hayti in her own vessels, may be also imported in the vessels of the United States, and no higher or other duties upon the tonnage or cargo of the vessels shall be levied or collected than shall be levied or collected of the vessels of the most favored nation.
Art. XI. It is hereby agreed that whatever may be lawfully exported or re-exported from the one country, in its own vessels, to any foreign country, may in like manner be exported (or re-exported) in vessels of the other; and the same duties, bounties, and drawbacks shall be collected and allowed as are collected of and allowed to the most favored nation.
It is also understood that the foregoing principles shall apply, whether the vessels shall have cleared directly from the ports of the nation to which they appertain or from the ports of any other nation.
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Art. XIII. No higher or other duties shall be imposed on the importation into the United States of any article the growth, produce, or manufacture of Hayti or her fisheries, and no higher or other duties shall be imposed on the importation into Hayti of any article the growth, produce, or manufacture of the United States or their fisheries, than are of shall be payable on the like articles the growth, produce, or manufacture of any other foreign country or its fisheries.
No other or higher duties or charges shall be imposed in the United States on the exportation of any article to Hayti, nor in Hayti on the exportation of any article to the United States, than such as are or shall be payable on the exportation of the like article to any foreign county.
No prohibition shall be imposed on the importation of any article the growth, produce, or manufacture of the United States or their fisheries (or of Hayti and her fisheries), from or to the ports of the United States or Hayti, which shall not equally extend to any other foreign country.
The undersigned thinks that, on comparing the text which is so precise of the above-quoted articles of the treaty and that of the law, the Secretary of State of the United States will find no contradiction. The undersigned declares, moreover, that the Haytian law which permits the collection of charges for visés in the United States by the consular officers of Hayti is executed in all other countries which maintain relations with the Republic, and cannot be considered a violation of our engagements, as asserted by Mr. Langston.
The undersigned deems it his duty to insist that the situation of American citizens affected by the law is in all points similar to that of the citizens of the most favored nation.
He is of opinion that the obligations contracted by the treaty of 1864 have been fulfilled.
The undersigned will await the reply of the honorable Secretary of State, feeling perfect confidence in the spirit of equity which has always distinguished the international relations of this government with those of the independent States of the New World, “doing unto others as it would be done by.” He is authorized to assure the Washington Cabinet of the great respect professed by his government for the international convention which binds the two countries, and the importance of which he moreover fully appreciates; and finally to state that, far from ignoring any of its stipulations in its own internal regulations, its efforts will be conformed therewith, in order to extend the relations of commerce and friendship which exist between the two nations.
The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to the honorable Secretary of State the assurances of his very high consideration.