No. 343.
Sir L. S. Sackville West to Mr. Bayard.

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that I am instructed by the Marquis of Salisbury to communicate to you the inclosed copy of a dispatch which his lordship has addressed to me on the subject of the proposed conference of the sugar-producing powers, to be held in London, and at the same time to invite the Government of the United States to take part in it upon the bases therein laid down, adding that, in the interests of the sugar industry, Her Majesty’s Government attach great importance to an early decision being arrived at upon the subject.

I have, etc.,

L. S. Sackville West.
[Inclosure No. l.—Circular.]

The Marquis of Salisbury to Sir L. West.

Sir: You are aware that in consequence of the recommendation made in 1880 by the select committee of the House of Commons on sugar industries “that Her Majesty’s Government should invite the sugar-producing powers to a conference with a view of arriving at a common understanding for the suppression of bounties on a basis of manufacturing and refining under excise supervision, the question of equivalents for this system not being precluded from consideration, an invitation was addressed to the Governments of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, and Holland, inviting them [Page 543] to take part in an international conference for the purpose of considering the sugar question, with a view, if possible, so to arrange the collection of duties as to avoid or reduce to the lowest possible limits anything in the nature of a bounty on exported sugar. The proposal, however, of Her Majesty’s Government was not favorably entertained by the Governments of the countries interested in the question, and although four years later, in 1885, the Government of Belgium endeavored to promote a conference to improve the condition of the sagar interests, their efforts were also unsuccessful, and no action has since been taken in the direction of convoking an international conference upon the sugar question.

The questions, however, affecting the sugar industry in 1887 remain practically what they were in 1880, and Her Majesty’s Government consider that the reasons for a conference which were valid then are at the present time of even greater weight. Before addressing a formal invitation to the Governments interested, Her Majesty’s Government have taken steps to ascertain the views of the Governments of those countries in which the bounty system most extensively prevails. Her Majesty’s Government have been glad to learn that the objections on the part of certain Governments which existed in 1881 appear no longer to exist, and that the powers chiefly interested are not indisposed to take part in an international conference, provided that some indication is given of the questions connected with the sugar industry which their delegates would be called upon to discuss. In the opinion of Her Majesty’s Government, the attention of the conference should be devoted to the following points:

What steps, if any, can be taken for the removal of causes of disturbance of the sugar producing and refining industry, so far as they are due to the action of Governments;
Whether it would be practicable for the various Governments to agree to manufacture and refine sugar in bond; or
Whether a common system can be agreed upon for correlating duties and drawbacks according to the various methods of levying duties on the roots, canes, juice, etc., so that one system of correlation shall be the equivalent of the other;
And generally to discuss any proposals with the object of inducing all Governments interested to give up the bounties.

In making these suggestions as to the scope of the conference Her Majesty’s Government have no wish to exclude the consideration of any further point which the Governments interested may consider it advantageous to discuss, their object in proposing the meeting of the conference being to effect a final settlement of this long outstanding and intricate question.

I have accordingly to request that you will address a formal invitation to the Government to take part in a conference in London upon the above mentioned bases; and you will add that, in the interests of the sugar industry, Her Majesty’s Government attach great importance to an early decision being arrived at upon the subject.

You are authorized to leave a copy of this dispatch with the minister for foreign affairs.

I am, etc.,