Mr. Bayard to Mr. Ferrara.
Washington, July 26, 1887.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 18th instant, in which you refer to the proclamation of the President, of the 22d April last, under section 11 of the shipping act of June 19, 1886, suspending the collection of tonnage dues on vessels entering our ports from those of the Netherlands in Europe and from certain Dutch East Indian ports, and say, that “in the ports of Italy, United States vessels and their named cargoes, as well as those sailing under any other flag, are required to pay only the same duties and imposts as Italian vessels,” which facts, your Government understands, entitle Italian vessels coming from saidnamed Dutch ports to the benefits of the proclamation.
The proviso in the proclamation, excluding certain vessels from the benefits, reads as follows:
Provided, That there shall be excluded from the benefits of the suspension hereby declared and proclaimed, the vessels of any foreign country in whose ports the fees or dues of any kind or nature imposed on vessels of the United States, or the import or export duties on their cargoes are in excess of the fees, dues, or duties imposed on the vessels of such foreign country, or their cargoes, or of the fees, dues, or duties imposed on the vessels of the country in which are the ports mentioned in this proclamation, or the cargeos of such vessels.
While the facts given in your note may place Italian vessels from said Dutch ports outside of the above proviso, the actual statement does not precisely meet the terms of the proviso. It is, you will perceive, not only requisite that the country whose vessels seek to enjoy the privilege stated in the proclamation should not discriminate in its ports in favor of its own vessels as against vessels of the United States, but also that it should not discriminate in its ports against vessels of the United States, and in favor of the vessels of the country in which the ports named in the proclamation may be situate.
If, therefore, Italy makes no discrimination of any sort, such as described in the proclamation, against American vessels, the Department would be glad of an express statement, such as might be suggested by the terms of the proviso.
The Department, will, however, transmit a copy of your note to the Treasury, with the request that if no such discrimination as that described in the proclamation is made by Italy, Italian vessels may be permitted to enjoy the benefits of the proclamation, when coming from the ports therein designated.