Mr. Manning to Mr. Bayard
Mexico , December 6, 1886. (Received December 15.)
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge your No. 19, of 23d ultimo, with inclosures, relative to the complaint of Messrs. F. Alexandre & Sons of an alleged discrimination by the Mexican Government in favor of the Spanish Transatlantic Company, in a rebate of 2 per cent. customs duties, accorded that line, to the detriment of Messrs. Alexandres line of steamers.
It is apparent, as observed by you, that the 2 per. cent, rebate of duties is not accorded to the goods for the benefit of the importers thereof, but that the Spanish company is to be paid a sum equivalent to that rebate collectable on the foreign goods carried in its steamers to Mexican ports, which payment is to be in part satisfaction of the subvention [Page 679] granted by the Mexican Government in its contract of August 1, 1886. But it is equally apparent that while this advantage given to the Spanish steamers is not put in the form of a discrimination, it amounts to one practically.
I shall at once ascertain from Señor Mariscal what is the construction put by his Government upon the contract with the Spanish company, and what is the action of his Government under that contract; but I presume I shall receive for answer that, so far as the Mexican Government is concerned, it is not a discrimination, either in form or substance, but that they do actually collect the whole of the duties that are properly chargeable upon the goods, and that the owners of the steamers, by a private arrangement with shippers, return to them 2 per cent. of the duties they have paid. Should such be the answer of Señor Mariscal, I do not see what relief can be afforded the complainants in this case, but that shall not prevent me from using every effort in my power for their relief.
I inclose to you a copy of a note I have just written to Señor Mariscal upon the subject.
I am, etc.,