Legation of the United States,
Stockholm, July 17, 1888. (Received July
I have thought it best to transmit a copy of the note rather than to
trust to my own translation of the same.
It will be observed that by a recent law of the Norwegian Government
a change in tonnage dues has been made on vessels trading with ports
in the Arctic zone, so as to bring the charges into unison with the
[Inclosure in No.
Count Ehrensvärd to Mr. Magee.
Stockholm, July 12, 1888.
Mr. Minister: With a view to completing
the information which I sent to you with my note of October 25,
1887, concerning the navigation dues of Sweden and in Norway, I
have the honor herewith to transmit to you a law which was
promulgated in Norway on the 30th of June last, whereby a change
has been made as regards the reduced duty (40 öre per ton) that
was enjoyed by the navigation of the Arctic zones.
This law, as formerly worded, granted the benefit of the
reduction to all vessels arriving from or sailing for ports in
the Arctic Ocean and the White Sea.
Although the only vessels that were really benefited by this
privilege were those engaged in the unimportant local coasting
trade of those northern regions, where from time immemorial no
distinction of nationality has been made, it nevertheless seemed
to the royal government that the text of the law might appear to
the United States Government not to be in conformity with
Article VIII of the treaty of 1827 between the United Kingdoms
and the United States. It might, indeed, have been remarked that
a vessel arriving from a Russian port in the White Sea in a
Norwegian port situated south of the Arctic region (which, by
the way, has never yet happened, and [Page 1887] probably will not do so for a long time
to come, save as rare exception) would pay but 40 öre per ton
whereas a vessel arriving from the United States in the same
port would pay 80 öre. It is true that the hypothesis was not
probable, but it was still possible. It was consequently deemed
necessary by the Government of the King to change the form of
the text of the law, in order to remove even the appearance of
any lack of conformity with the stipulations of the treaty of
1827. A royal proposition to this effect was approved
immediately by the Storthing of Norway, and, as you will
perceive, the text of the new law provides that a reduction of
the tonnage and light duty of 40 öre per ton is henceforth to be
granted to all vessels arriving at or sailing from Hammerfest,
Vardöe, and Vadsö. The privilege that might have been enjoyed by
a vessel arriving from a Russian Arctic port in a Norwegian port
lying south of the Arctic Ocean has thus been eliminated, and
the Norwegian law is now in form, what it has always been in
fact, in strict conformity with the treaty.
I hope that your Government will regard the care which we have
taken to make our law harmonize with the treaty, without even
waiting for a complaint on its part, as an evidence of our
sincere desire to keep our international engagements in all
joints with the most scrupulous fidelity.
Be pleased, etc.,