to Mr. Fairchild.
Washington , November 2, 1881.
Sir: I inclose a copy of a letter from Messrs. Miller & Houghton, of 32 South street, New York, and a copy of a note addressed to them on the 28th ultimo by the consul-general of Spain at New York. It appears from the latter that the consulate-general there requires payment of “10 cents for every 1,000 kilograms,” of the cargo of vessels clearing for Spain, Cuba, and Porto Rico. A charge of this character you will perceive comes within the description of charges amounting to the levy of an export duty by Spain in the ports of the United States, such as contemplated in the note of Mr. Cushing of May 25, 1876, to the minister of state, communicated in his No. 963. In that note Mr. Cushing says:
But that which is above all things inadmissible is the number of provisions [of the Spanish consular tariff] which, while not connected with corresponding acts of the consul, are expressly charges on cargo, equivalent to an attempt on the part of Spain to levy an export duty on shipments in foreign ports, in violation of the fundamental principles of public rights and of national sovereignty.
So far as appears, the charge now sought to be enforced is more obnoxious to the observations contained in Mr. Cushing’s note than the special charges which were then being considered.
I address this instruction to you in connection with previous correspondence on the general subject, referring for the present only to instruction No. 349 of the 11th April, 1876, and in case you shall not find it advisable to present the matter to the attention of the minister of state at once, I will thank you to call Mr. Hamlin’s particular notice to this communication on his arrival at Madrid, to the end that he may, on familiarizing himself with the correspondence on the subject, make such representations as may appear to him proper.
I am, &c.,