Mr. Frelinghuysen to Tevfik Pasha.
Washington , October 24, 1884.
Sir: I have had the honor to examine the note verbale dated the 30th August last, and handed by you to the Acting Secretary of State, Mr. Davis, on that date. You therein review, from the position held by the Government of the Porte, the pending questions between the two countries concerning the duration of the effects of the treaty of 1862, and communicate the declaration made to the Chargé d’affaires of the [Page 897] United States at Constantinople, that, considering the treaty as no longer having any legal force, the Sublime Porte will levy an ad valorem duty on American goods introduced into Turkey. And you conclude by stating the desire of the Porte that the United States legation at Constantinople be directed to appoint delegates for the purpose of negotiating a new treaty and a new tariff.
I have noted especially the concluding words of your note verbale, that “it is impossible for the Imperial Government to recede from the position which it has taken in relation to this question.”
I regret to see in this communication an apparent departure from assurances repeatedly made by the Government of the Porte, both at Constantinople and through its representatives in this capital, that the goods and citizens of the United States should receive in any contingency the treatment of the most favored nation. The proposals heretofore made by us to continue such treatment while negotiating a new treaty were based on these assurances of Turkey.
As relates to these assurances, I need scarcely do more than refer you to the words of your own note of May 22d last, wherein, while stating the inability of Turkey to accept the letter of the proposal made by the United States, you make the following declaration:
As to the fear which you express that the commerce of the United States will be placed on a lower footing in consequence of the abrogation of the treaty of 1862, while other powers have treaties of longer duration, and that American commerce will thereby be subjected to a disadvantageous régime, I can assure you, in the name of my Government, that the Sublime Porte entertains no such idea. The esteem and regard which it has always manifested for the United States area sure guarantee that it will maintain their rights as it has done in the past.
Many such declarations might be cited from the notes of yourself and your predecessors and of the ministers of foreign affairs of the Porte to the same effect, but in more unequivocal language even than yours.
Besides these assurances, the United States are, in virtue of a treaty whose existing validity is beyond a doubt, entitled to the treatment of the most favored nation.
The proposals heretofore made by this Government, and which have been declined by that of the Porte, were based on these assurances, and looked simply to the continuance of the most-favored-nation treatment so long as other nations should be more favored than our own, and no longer. In this respect our proposals are not at variance with the drafts submitted by your own Government to the United States minister at Constantinople. The principle sought to be confirmed in both is the same.
This Government stands ready to negotiate a new treaty with Turkey, whereby the commerce of the United States may be subject to the same increase of taxes as the commerce of other nations with which Turkey has concluded or may conclude treaties, such treaty to take effect with the general inforcement of the new tariff.
I cannot but view the present notification, whereby the Government of the Porte ignores its assurance of and agreement for favored treatment, and seeks to place the commerce of the United States on the basis of a higher taxation, while other powers are, for the time being, entitled to a lower rate, as unfavorable to that good feeling which should mark the negotiations for a reformed tariff and a new treaty.
This Government would willingly do all in its power to maintain the good understanding which should exist on such an important matter between two friendly nations; but it must be quite evident to you that this Government cannot willingly accept the rejection by the Turkish [Page 898] Government of the fundamental basis upon which the negotiation has hitherto proceeded.
The representative of the United States at Constantinople has been instructed to protest against any instance which may come to Iris knowledge of the levying of ad valorem duties against the products of the United States to which the products of other nations may not be at the time liable, as a violation of the treaty, of 1830.
I avail myself, &c.,