No. 389.
Mr. Bayard to Mr. Stallo.

No. 60.]

Sir: I herewith inclose a copy of a dispatch from Mr. Philip Carroll (No. 148, March 31, 1887), our consul at Palermo, stating that the department of finance at Borne, with which he had corresponded on the subject, had refused to accord free entry to some flags sent him officially by this Department.

In such cases it would be more proper, and probably more successful in the end, if the consulates would refer such questions through the consul-general to the legation, which could then bring the matter before the foreign office and obtain a decision applicable in future cases. This, moreover, would be in accordance with the practice of this Government under our Treasury regulations, which provide:

Sec. 387. Free entry of articles sent by a foreign Government for its use to an agent in this country will, in proper cases, be granted on (like) application made through the Department of State. When it shall appear to the satisfaction of the collector and the naval officer, if there is one, that packages contain only official forms sent by” a foreign Government for the use of its consular or other officers in this country, the same may be admitted to entry on a written application therefor from the officer for whose use they are intended.

Such articles as national flags, shields, and official stationery would always be proper articles to make such application for, in distinction from wearing apparel, wines, cigars, or other articles, for the personal use of the consuls.

From the correspondence of Mr. Carroll with the Italian finance department it would appear that the apparel and furniture of consuls are [Page 634] admitted free on their arrival in Italy, but no mention is made of in signia of office or official stationery, which are allowed to enter free by some Governments. Germany has informed us that she prefers reciprocal duties to reciprocal exemption for official consular supplies such as are admitted free by us, but makes an exception in favor of flags, escutcheons, and other emblems of authority. Austria, in response to our inquiry as to what she was disposed to do as regards a shield for a consulate, regretted that under her customs laws, which could only be altered by legislative action, exemption from customs dues could not be granted to foreign consuls, either for articles for their personal use or for those required for their official duties. You will thus see that there is no universal rule of free entry.

Your dispatch No. 47, of the 16th of March, 1886; on this subject appears to relate to purely personal supplies of household articles for the consul at Naples, and the application for their free entry to the foreign office was refused on the ground that there was no reciprocity for such articles on the part of the United States.

The present case, however, appears to be different, and you are therefore instructed to bring the case to the attention of the foreign office, and while not claiming as a right the exemption of the flags in question, you will explain that such articles are the property of this Government, and continue to be so as much as naval stores sent to foreign ports to which free entry is usually accorded.

You will state that it is the practice of this Government to accord free entry to articles sent by foreign governments to this country for the official use of consuls, on application, in case of doubt, to the Department of State, through their respective legations, and ask if the Italian Government would be able and willing to accord the same privilege for official flags, insignia, and supplies sent to our consuls in Italy, and, if so, what form of application would be necessary for this purpose.

In the case of some foreign Governments this Department notifies our minister there of the prospective arrival of the article, and directs him to apply for their free entry in advance of their arrival. This system, which has been found to save delay and to work well, might be suggested by you.

You are requested to notify the consul at Palermo of the purport of the reply received from the foreign office, and likewise to report it to this Department.

I am, etc.,

T. F. Bayard.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 60.]

Mr. Carroll to Mr. Porter.

No. 148.]

Sir: Referring to my dispatch No. 147, in which I requested to be supplied with certain flags, I have the honor to say, that in anticipation of their receipt at an early day I addressed a communication to the department of finance at Rome, with a view of inducing them to issue an order for the free entry of the same, quoting the portion pertinent to the action of the Government of the United States of paragraph 421 of the Consular Regulations of 1881 in similar cases, or when dealing with consuls of a foreign government.

In this connection I beg to inclose herein a copy and translation of the correspondence in question, from the latter of which it will be seen the director-general of [Page 635] finance quotes the Italian decrees or tariff as to foreign consuls, and expresses regret that he has not the power to authorize the director of customs to extend the exemption referred to therein.

The duty on articles for Warded by the Department may not amount to much, but it is impossible to comply with certain requirements of the customs, among which is the invoice of the goods or articles and their valuation, thus rendering it difficult to gain possession of them.

The matter is respectfully submitted to the Department, in conformity with the paragraph referred to, for such, if any, action as it may deem proper.

I am, sir, etc.,

Philip Carroll.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 60.]

Mr. Carroll to the minister of finance.

Sir: I have the honor to submit for the information and consideration of your excellency the following extract from paragraph 421 of the Consular Regulations of the United States of 1881, page 142:

“It is customary for this Government to admit free of duties and charges at its custom-houses all articles for the official use of the consular offices of foreign states when similar privileges are granted to its officers. * * *”

In this connection I beg to say that upon two occasions when the Government sent supplies to this consulate for its official use the collector here levied duties and charges thereon, at first requiring the valuation or price list thereof, with which it was manifestly and obviously impossible to comply. It is understood, however, that the collector had no other alternative in the absence of instructions from Rome.

The duty on the articles being small, insignificant, indeed, compared with the trouble in becoming possessed of them, consequent upon the requirements referred to, I did not report, the matter at the time to the Department of State at Washington, as required. Now, however, as I am anticipating the receipt of certain articles from the Government for official use, it has Occurred to me to refer the matter to your excellency, in the belief that Italy, whose actions are so generally generous and courteous to American officials, will willingly reciprocate the privilege granted to Italian consuls, in the United States in the matter under consideration.

I am, etc.,

Philip Carroll.
[Inclosure 3 in No. 60.—Translation.]

Mr. Costerier to Mr. Carroll.

In reply to your dispatch of the 21st instant, I have the honor to inform you that the existing customs tariff’ does not exempt articles of stationery, etc., from duty, which may be forwarded or furnished by foreign Governments to their respective consuls in Italy.

The exemption of duty on articles to foreign consuls is limited to wearing apparel and furniture, required upon their entering and leaving Italy, as per article 20 of the preliminary decrees, as follows:

“The wearing, apparel and furniture belonging to foreign consuls upon entering and leaving are free, provided the same courtesy shall be extended to Italian consuls on the part of their respective Governments.

“This exemption does not extend to or include articles of daily consumption, such as colonial goods, wines, liquors, private effects, etc.”

I am therefore sorry I have not the power to authorize the director of customs to extend the exemption allowed by the article above quoted.

With perfect consideration,