No. 1.
Mr. Tree to Mr. Bayard.
No. 26.]

Sir: Referring to previous correspondence on the subject of your No. 3, I have the honor to inform you that yesterday, in the course of conversation with Baron Lambermont, of the foreign office, I called his attention to the favored-nation clause of a treaty, and asked him what interpretation his Government had placed upon such clause in cases where there had been or might be contention as to reserved privileges. He replied that the clause not always being the same, but differing in language in different treaties, it was difficult to answer the general question; and I then called his attention more specifically to a clause of that character containing language similar to that used in the treaty of 1875, between the United States and Belgium, and after saying that he was not sufficiently familiar with the matter to be able to answer the inquiry then, he promised to look into it and report to me at an early date the result of his investigation.

Of course I did not in any way discuss with the baron the question involved in the inquiry.

I have not been as yet, able, from any other quarter, I regret to say, to obtain any information on the construction heretofore placed on the clause in question in other foreign treaties of Belguim, and it is somewhat difficult to find the starting-point, but I am pursuing the subject, and hope yet to get knowledge of some oases in which a similar point has been raised and an interpretation given thereof by the Government here.

At the same time I venture to observe that I have examined, in the volume of the United States Statutes at Large, which has just come to hand, section 14 of the act of June 26, 1884, to which you have specially called my attention in your No. 3, and confess that it is not very apparent to me that “any favor, privilege, or immunity to any other state” has been granted under that section which is not common alike to the subjects of Belgium. If I understand its language, it certainly does not withhold from Belgium any right which is therein granted to vessels of any other nation coming from any of the ports named therein. The concession would seem to be made, not to a state, but to ports within given boundaries; and any vessel, under whatever flag, entering a port of the United States from any of those ports is entitled to the benefits of the act—a Belgian vessel equally with one of the United States or of any other nation. If this view is correct, it is difficult to perceive how, under this section, Belgium can justly claim any rights under the favored-nation clause for vessels coming from Belgian ports.

I venture to give the impression made on my mind by reading the section, in order that I may know if I have properly understood the language and intent of the act.

I have, etc.,

Lambert Tree.