No. 324.
Sir L. S. Sackville West to Mr. Bayard.

Sir: I have the honor to inclose to you herewith a memorandum with regard to the application of the Treasury decision (No. 6934) of May 25, 1885, to shipwrecked seamen and other distressed British subjects who may be sent by Her Majesty’s consular officers to American ports for immediate transshipment to their destination, and whose expenses are provided for by the British Government, as well as with regard to its application under similar circumstances to shipwrecked and other distressed Canadians, in view of section 22 of the article of June 26, 1884; and in submitting this matter to your notice I have, etc.

L. S. Sackville West.
[Inclosure No. 1.—Memorandum.]

Under the act of Congress of August 3, 1882, a tax of 50 cents per head was imposed on alien passengers arriving at sea-ports in the United States. This act appears to have been for some time construed as applying solely to immigrants, but a decision of the Treasury made it applicable to “tourists” or “travelers” as well. Since the date of-this decision the collector of customs at Boston (Massachusetts) has imposed this tax on shipwrecked and other distressed British seamen sent to that port by Her Majesty’s consular officers to be forwarded home in cases where there was no direct means of conveyance to destination.

[Page 496]

The question has been raised as to whether the aforesaid Treasury decision is intended to be made applicable to the cases of such seamen, under the head “alien passengers,” as “tourists” or “travelers.”

The Canadian Government have also asked whether, in similar cases, exemption from this tax is not provided for under section 22 of the act of June 26, 1884, which limits the provisions of the act of August 3, 1882, as regards passengers coming by vessels employed exclusively in the trade between the ports of the United States’ and the ports of the Dominion of Canada or the ports of Mexico.