No. 93.
Mr. Everett to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 308.]

Sir: Referring to your instruction No. 301 of the 8th ultimo, and my reply to the same of the 23d ultimo, I have the honor now to inclose the correspondence between this legation and the foreign office on the subject of the importation of pork products, by which it will be seen that the German Government refuses to modify its prohibitive decree of the 25th June, 1880, so as to allow the consignment of pigs’ tongues from William Archdeacon & Co. and the brawn of Messrs. Armor & Co., of Chicago, to enter Germany.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 308.]

Mr. Everett to Count Hatzfeldt.

The undersigned, chargé d’affaires ad interim of the United States of America, has the honor, by direction of his government, to call the attention of his excellency [Page 159] Count Hatzfeldt, provisional secretary of state for foreign affairs, to the subject of customs duties on articles of food from the United States coming into Germany.

The undersigned would respectfully represent to his excellency that the American Government is informed by the reports of its consuls as well as by the complaints of individual exporters, that articles of food, such as beef in cans, hams in cloth covers, and salt fish in wooden boxes, are not allowed by Germany to pay duties, as in other countries, under the class of imports to which they belong, but are taxed by weight under the class of material of which the boxes in which they are packed are made. For instance, canned beef, instead of paying a duty of 12 marks per 100 R—according to No. 25 g, 1, of the official tariff of July 15, 1879, is taxed at 24 marks per 100 R—as ironware under No. 6, e, 3, B, because it is packed in tinned iron cans, and iron bears a higher rate of duty than beef. Likewise dried salt fish, instead of coming in as fish, because it is packed in wooden boxes like Swedish matches, pays as wood, a much higher duty. It further appears that if the cans have no labels, the lower duty on beef is charged.

The undersigned, after a careful study of the tariff laws, fails to understand such an interpretation of them by the officers of customs, especially, as by a treasury order of the 23d January, 1882, Mr. Krüger, a collector at Altona, is informed that the nature of the covering is not to affect the duty rate of goods. Notwithstanding this order, the legation is informed that at Hamburg, American beef is still taxed as ironware because the iron cans are packed, simply for the purpose of transportation, in large wooden cases. It is surely superfluous, however, to remark that the beef is the only really dutiable article in this instance, as it is shipped as beef in invoices and bills of lading, and sold as beef both wholesale and retail, sometimes even without the cans, by the slice.

The undersigned trusts that the imperial finance ministry will, when their attention is called to it, see the injustice of taxing these nourishing and cheap articles of food under the class of material which does not in any way enter into their composition, and only serves to protect them during transportation, just as the ship protects them on the sea, or the railway wagon on land.

It would also appear to be an error to tax them, as so much weight of iron or wood, as the principal weight is not in the iron cases, but in the beef. Therefore, if the iron and wood must be taxed, it would seem to be more correct to tax them by their own weight separate from the beef or fish, and in addition to the tax on the beef or fish taken by themselves, which latter could even be increased if necessary.

The undersigned, in the hope that his excellency will give this matter his early attention, and endeavor to meet the apparently reasonable complaint of the importers, avails himself of this occasion to renew to his excellency the assurances of his most distinguished consideration.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 308.—Translation.]

Dr. Busch to Mr. Everett.

The undersigned has the honor to inform Mr. H. Sidney Everett, charge d’affaires of the United States of America, in reply to the esteemed note of the 24th ultimo, concerning a consignment of American pork which has been detained at Altona, that the prohibition of June 25, 1880, is still in force and is especially applicable to prepared pigs’ tongues.

After a careful examination, in the proper quarter, of the facts in the case, it has not been considered feasible to make an exception to the existing prohibition in favor of the large consignment of pigs’ tongues and the preparation known as “brawn” referred to in the esteemed note.

The undersigned avails, &c.,