Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, Transmitted to Congress, With the Annual Message of the President, December 3, 1888, Part I
to Mr. Hall
Washington, January 23, 1888.
Sir: I inclose herewith, for your information in respect of previous correspondence, a copy of a letter from the secretary of the Pacific Steam-ship Company, dated the 6th instant, concerning the continued imposition by Costa Rica of a discriminating duty of 5 percent, against American vessels in favor of those of the Spanish Central American Line.
I have laid a copy of this correspondence before the Secretary of the Treasury, as desired.
I am, etc.,
Mr. Lane to Mr. Bayard.
Dear Sir: Differential duties granted the Spanish Central American line of steam ers by the Republic of Costa Rica.
Referring to previous correspondence on this subject, and especially to our letter of September 19 and your letter of November 2, 1887, I now have the honor to submit herewith the following copies of correspondence, from which you will notice that the Government of Costa Rica persists in maintaining its unjust position of discrimination [Page 117] against American vessels to the extent of 5 per cent differential duty in favor of shipments by the Marquis de Campo steamers, viz:
Letter from Mr. J. H. Leverich to this company, dated San José, November 15.
Letter from George H. Rice, dated San Francisco, December 15, 1887, inclosing three letters from shippers.
Letter from J. H. Leverich, dated San Jose, December 16, 1887, inclosing copy of letter from that gentleman to Mr. Hall, United States minister to Central America.
We have therefore to beg that the honorable Secretary of the Treasury may be advised of the situation, and that immediate steps may be taken having for their object the application of the provisions of section 2502 of the Revised Statutes of the United States by directing the collector at San Francisco to exact the additional duty prescribed by the above-mentioned section of 10 per cent on all merchandise imported into San Francisco from Costa Rica by said steamers.
Mr. Leverich to the Pacific Mail Steamship Company.
Dear Sirs: Costa Rica is still paying 5 per cent, rebate on all goods imported by the Campo steamers. Mr. Hall is still awaiting a reply from that Government to his protest. I would mention that Minister Von Bergen leaves shortly for Costa Rica for the express purpose to obtain, if possible, the same 5 per cent rebate for goods per Kosmos and Hamburg American Packet Companies; so between Mr. Hall and Mr. Von Bergen, I hope the matter will shortly be arranged.
I have called Mr. Hall’s attention to that shipment of cigars from La Libertad for Punta Arenas, which the shipper refused to forward by our line at Campo Line rates, owing to the 5 per cent differential duty, and he will report this to the Department at Washington.
Mr. Rice to Mr. Gould.
San Francisco, December 15, 1887.
Dear Sir: Referring to our conversation on the subject of differential duties in favor of Del Campo Line to ports in Costa Rica, I have secured three letters from large shippers on our Panama Line on this subject. I find there are no shippers here who do not perfectly understand this to be the case. It is not only claimed by all houses in that country who order goods shipped from here, but is advertised in the Government organs of the country. This surely is a discrimination against an American line which is having its effect.
Very truly yours,
Messrs. Sperry & Co. to Mr. Rice.
Sir: Regarding your inquiries concerning the rebate in duties at the port of San Jose de Costa Rica, would say that our customers in Costa Rica have advised us that we should ship by the Spanish-American line, as they are able to collect 5 per cent, rebate on the duties, and they have also inclosed us advertisements cut from their papers stating such to be the case.
Hoping this will be satisfactory, we are, etc.,
Messrs. Urruela & Urioste to Mr. Rice.
Dear Sir: On the steamer San Pablo, arrived 5th instant from Hong-Kong, we have several invoices of silk goods for Central America. Among them there is Nov 11, one hale silk goods for Punta Arenas, Costa Rica, and we propose to you to take delivery of same here, we releasing the Pacific Mail Steamship Company from any claim whatever on this account, and assuming all the responsibility for this action. The freight to Punta Arenas has been prepaid at Hong-Kong, but we do not ask for the refunding of any part thereof, only to have the goods delivered to us here so that we can ship them in bond by one of the steamers of the Marquis de Campo’s Line, thus insuring the 5 per cent drawback in custom-house duties which the Government of Costa Rica allows on all merchandise shipped by said steamers.
Hoping for a favorable answer, we remain, etc.,
Messrs. de Sabla & Co. to Mr. Rice.
Dear sir: In answer to your inquiry in regard to reduction of duties allowed on freight shipped to Costa Rica per steamers of the De Campo Line, we have been informed by several of our correspondents that the said reduction amounts to 5 per cent.
Very truly, yours,
Mr. Leverich to Pacific Mail Steamship Company.
Dear Sirs: Although Mr. Hall has informed this Government of the wish expressed by the State Department that this company should be placed on the full 3 per cent basis without the one-tenth per cent discrimination, still no action has been taken to that end, and this one-tenth per cent discrimination is still in force.
Mr. Hall has heard nothing from Honduras nor from Costa Rica in reply to his official communications. I inclose you press copy of my letter to Mr. Hall pointing out how handicapped this company is so long as the Costa Rica Government pays the 5 per cent differential duty to the Campo Line.
If you will study the treaty with Costa Rica you will see that this discriminating duty is a direct violation of same, and being such I believe the tenth per cent, discriminating duty can be applied by the United States at San Francisco on all products imported by the Campo Line steamers from Punta Arenas. The present Campo steamer Costa Rica has on board 1,600 packages from Punta Arenas. I have also informed Mr. Hall of this. You can rely on Mr. Hall’s most zealous efforts to get this differential duty either removed or granted to American vessels. I would mention that Minister Von Bergen has not yet left here for Costa Rica.
Mr. Leverich to Mr. Hall.
Dear Sir: I beg to transcribe for your information the following from a letter which I have received from this company’s agent at Punta Arenas, dated 24th ultimo.
“The 5 per cent question is still in the same shape, and certainly this protection of [Page 119] Campo induces importers to prefer this line, and more for articles like cigars, paying over $2 kilo duty. The Guatemala brought 80 tons of different goods from San Francisco to here.”
This will show you how handicapped this company is in meeting this competition as long as this 5 per cent differential duty exists in favor of the Campo Line.