to Mr. Bayard.
The Hague , October 26, 1886. (Received November 9.)
Sir: The minister of the colonies has presented to the second chamber of the States-General two projects of law providing measures to favor the maintenance of the culture of sugar in Java.
The considerable fall in the price of cane sugar has long since threatened a crisis in the sugar industry of the Dutch East Indies.
For some time the price of sale has remained much below the actual cost of manufacture.
On account of this condition of affairs many financial institutions of this country, which have heretofore made important advances to the sugar interests, are no longer willing to extend their aid; consequently the industry finds itself upon the verge of complete ruin. Many petitions have from time to time been addressed to the chambers as well as to the Government by the sugar interest soliciting relief.
These petitions have usually demanded:
- The reduction or complete temporary abolition of the rents due from the manufacturers to the colonial government.
- A reduction of the cost of transportation of sugar in Java by the state railways.
- Advances to be made by the state to the manufacturers.
In the opinion of the minister of the colonies it cannot be a question of any donation whatsoever to be made by the treasury to the sugar interest.
Therefore it should neither reduce nor abolish the rents, nor reduce the expense of transportation by the railways of the state.
Nevertheless, according to the views of the minister, the Government is convinced that the general interests of the state require the maintenance as far as possible of the culture of cane sugar.
It is for this reason that the Government has submitted for the action of the States General two projects of law.
According to the first project of the Government the governor-general will be authorized to grant to the manufacturers who have a contract with the colonial government a delay in the payment of their rents in consideration of the payment of an annual interest of 6 per cent. on the amount due.
By the second project the governor-general is authorized to make advances to the manufacturers who freely follow the culture of sugar.
This advance can not, however, exceed the sum of 1½ florins for each 100 kilograms, estimated upon the harvest of 1886.
These projects of law will be discussed simultaneously with the budget of the Indies for 1887 during the coming month.[Page 886]
The extent of the depression in the sugar trade of this country will be understood when it is known that in 1870 the imports of raw cane sugar from Java were 108.000,000 kilos, whilst in 1885 it fell off to 10,000,000 kilos.
I have, etc.,