Mr. Scruggs to Mr.
the United States,
October 2, 1885.
(Received November 13.)
Sir: I inclose herewith (in copy and translation)
an executive decree, No. 636, establishing custom-houses at the ports of
Panama and Colon. I also inclose an English translation of article 8 of law
53 of 1884, and of articles 41, 42, 47, and 48 of the fiscal code to which
Informally I have expressed to Dr. Restrepo, secretary for foreign affairs,
my apprehensions that this measure will seriously interfere with the freedom
of the isthmian transit; and informally he has expressed to me his
concurrence in this opinion, adding that he had been overruled by the
President and cabinet.
My British colleague, with whom I have spoken on the subject, entertains the
same fears and will write to his Government accordingly.
While thus referring the matter, I shall in all probability, pending the
arrival of your instructions, venture on my own responsibility to try to
dissuade the President from putting his decree into operation.
I have, &c.,
[Inclosure in No.
Decree No. 636.
The President of the United States of Columbia, in execution of article 8
of law 53 of 1884, decrees:
Article 1. That, in accordance with
said law, custom-houses be established in the ports of Panama
and Colon, on and after the 1st of December next.
Art. 2. That the import duties
collected therein be the same as those collected at the other
ports of the Republic, less 40 per cent.
Art. 3. That the regulations common
to the customs service in the other ports of the Republic shall
govern in said ports. Consequently, that at foreign ports whence
merchandise is shipped thither the usual formalities as to
manifests and certified invoices as prescribed in articles 41,
42, 47, and 48 of the fiscal code be observed.
Given at Bogota,
of War, in charge of Finance Department.
Article 8 of law 53 of 1884, to which the preceding
decree, No. 636, refers.
Art. 8. The Executive is hereby authorized to
establish custom houses in Panama, Colon, Aranca, and Oracué. The
personal of the service thereof shall not exceed the salaries paid at
the custom-house at Santa Martha.
The duties collected at the new ports named shall he those provided for
in the existing tariff laws, less 40 per cent.
The executive decree organizing the customs service at said new ports
shall he submitted to the next succeeding session of Congress.
Articles of the Fiscal Code referred to in decree
Art. 41. The captain or supercargo of
every vessel loading in a foreign port for the ports of Colombia
should present to the Colombian consul therein a manifest signed in
triplicate setting forth—
- The name, class, nationality, and tonnage of the
- The ports of her departure and of her destination.
- The name of the shipper or consignor, and also that of the
- The marks and number of each package, and also the gross
weight of each.
- The number of packages or parcels in each cargo, and of
those destined for each particular port.
Art. 42. Every person wishing to ship
merchandise to any of the Colombian ports should present to the
Colombian consul in the port of embarkation an invoice in triplicate
- The name of the shipper, the place whence shipment is
made, the name of the consignee, the port of destination,
and also the name of the vessel.
- The marks, number, description, contents, and gross weight
of each package or parcel.
- The aggregate value of the list of articles named in the
invoice, without, however, the necessity of specifying the
precise value of each separate article.
Art. 47. The consul will make note of
all manifests in a register kept by him for that purpose; he will
compare these with the invoice presented, and, after satisfying
himself as far as possible of their correctness, will certify
thereto at the foot of each copy; he will return one copy to each of
the parties interested, for presentation at the respective
Art. 48. The consul will transmit, under
seal, by the same vessel, one copy each of the manifest and invoice
to the customs collector at the port of destination, together with
such other advices as he may deem necessary to the prevention of