No. 419.
Mr. Coleman to Mr. Bayard.

No. 496.]

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of my note of today addressed to the foreign office in execution of your instruction of July 9, 1887, directing that the German Government be invited to cooperate with that of the United States to the end of reducing or abolishing, by reciprocal action, tonnage and equivalent dues on navigation.

In further execution of your instruction I addressed, under date of the 17th instant, a communication to Mr. von Versen, our vice and acting consul-general here, requesting him to cause the legation to be furnished with reports from the consular officers of the United States residing at the German sea-ports, showing what discrimination, if any, with respect to tonnage or equivalent dues, existed at their respective ports against our vessels as compared with those of Germany or of any third country. In response to my request Mr. von Versen has written as follows:

In reply permit me to state that on the question under consideration repeatedly reports have been rendered to the Department of State, as you will see from the inclosed copy of a report from this office to the Department of State (dated July 5, 1887), and that all reports having passed through this office from our consuls at German sea-ports, dwelling on the same subject, have answered the same question in the negative.

I await, therefore, your directions whether or not under such circumstances you still desire me to address the consuls with reference thereto.

In answer to his communication I informed Mr. von Versen that it would not be necessary to address the consuls on the subject again at present.

Hoping my execution of your instructions will meet with your approval,

I have, etc.,

Chapman Coleman.
[Inclosure in No. 496.]

Mr. Coleman to Count Berchem, August 25, 1837.

F. O., No. 310.]

The undersigned, chargé d’affaires ad interim of the United States of America, has the honor, acting under instructions from his Government, to invite the attention of Count Berchem, acting imperial secretary of state for foreign affairs, to an act of Congress, approved June 19, 1886, entitled “An act to abolish certain fees for official services to American vessels, and to amend the laws relating to shipping commissioners, seamen, and owners of vessels, and for other purposes,” of which act, as also [Page 571] of the prior act of June 26, 1884, therein referred to, copies are herewith inclosed, and to extend to the Imperial Government the invitation authorized by section 12 of the act of June 19, 1886, to co-operate with the Government of the United States toward the contemplated ends.

The following provisions are found in the act of June 19, 1886:

[Here were quoted sections 11, 14, 12, and 17, as found in the circular instruction of the Department of State of July 9, 1887.]

It will be seen that the provisions of the sections above quoted are broad enough to cover either a reduction or a complete abolition, by reciprocal action, of tonnage and equivalent charges on navigation; and it is open to any foreign country in all or any of whose ports a less charge is made than that now imposed in the ports of the United States to obtain forthwith a reduction of the charge in the United States on vessels coming from such port or ports to an equality with that levied in the port or ports designated. An example of this is furnished by the arrangement lately entered into between the Government of the United States and that of the Netherlands, as shown by the inclosed copy of the President’s proclamation of April 22, 1887, whereby complete exemption from tonnage dues is secured to all vessels, of whatever nationality, entering ports of the United States from the ports of the Netherlands, in Europe, or from certain named ports of the Dutch East Indies.

It is to be observed that the invitation herein contained is extended equally to all countries, both those having ports within the geographical zone to which, under the shipping acts of 1884 and 1886, the rate of 3 to 15 cents per ton applies, and to those which have no ports within that zone, and to which the rate of 6 to 30 cents per ton now applies. The rate of 3 to 15 cents per ton was geographical, and involved no test of flag. The object and intent of the present invitation is to deal, on the basis of reciprocity, with countries as nationalities, whether situated within or without the geographical limits referred to.

In communicating the invitation herein contained, the undersigned is instructed to convey to the acting imperial secretary of state for foreign affairs the fullest assurance of its entire friendliness, and of the desire of the United States to treat the commerce and flag of Germany on the footing of the most complete reciprocity in those matters to which the invitation relates.

The undersigned avails himself, etc.,

Chapman Coleman.