No. 570.
Mr. Lewis to Mr. Bayard.

No. 107.]

Sir: A project of law of great importance to the foreign commerce of Portugal has been laid before the Côrtes by the minister of finance, proposing the construction on the right bank of the Tagus in th6 port of Lisbon, or its proximity, of a free port, and of stores, for the landing, bonding, warehousing, handling, and shipping of goods of all kinds not destined for home consumption, to be exempt from all fiscal charges. It is proposed that this port and buildings shall be created at a locality situated between Belem and Gascaes, about 9 miles from Lisbon. At the same time the minister proposes the establishment of similar entrepots in the Azores and at one of the Cape Verdes.

The Government will be authorized to offer to public competition the concession for the execution of the necessary works, which it is stipulated shall be completed within three years after the contract shall have been awarded. The exact nature and extent of the work has not as yet been made known, nor is it the intention of the Government to make them public until the project of law now before the Côrtes shall be [Page 937] passed. This scheme meets with the almost unanimous condemnation of the commercial community, and has elicited from the Chamber of Commerce of Lisbon the declaration that the creation of the entrepot in the locality indicated by the treasury and under the conditions proposed by the Government, will have “fatal consequences upon the commerce of Lisbon and the interests of the treasury.” The opposition thus evinced is, however, not likely to lead to the abandonment of the project by the treasury. It is now under discussion in the Cortes, and in case of its ultimate creation as a law I will transmit a copy of it to the Department.

I have, etc.,

E. P. C. Lewis.