No. 20.
Mr. Porter to Mr. Magee.

No. 49.]

Sir: I have to request that you will inform the Department at the earliest convenient date whether any, and, if any, what difference exists under the shipping laws of Sweden and Norway between the tonnage dues charged on vessels in the ports of Sweden and the ports of Norway.

The correspondence between the Department and the minister of Sweden and Norway at this capital, in relation to the shipping act of 1884, as amended in 1886, in connection with the treaty of 1827 between the United States and Sweden and Norway, has disclosed the fact that at the time of, and subsequently to, the conclusion of that convention, there existed a considerable difference between the system of tonnage and other duties charged in the ports of Sweden and that enforced in the ports of Norway. The Department desires to be informed in relation to that difference; in what it consisted, and when and in what manner it was terminated.

The point which has been brought particularly to the notice of the Department in the correspondence referred to is that in 1827, and for some time thereafter, the rate of tonnage and other duties levied in the ports of Norway was adjusted upon a geographical basis.

For example, vessels coming from ports in the Mediterranean were charged a less rate than vessels coming from more remote points, among which were, of course, ports of the United States. To this discrimination between vessels coming from Mediteranean ports and those coming from the ports of the United States this Government objected as in contravention of Article VIII of the treaty of 1827, and the Government of Sweden and Norway yielded the point.

The Department desires to know how long after that admission the discrimination continued to operate as between Sweden and Norway and other countries than the United States.

Again asking your early attention to the matter,

I am, etc.,

Jas. D. Porter,
Acting Secretary.