No. 69.
Mr. Connery to Mr. Bayard.

No. 244.]

Sir: I am only this moment in receipt of a note from Mr. Mariscal, dated the 20th ultimo, and addressed to Mr. Manning, in regard to the invitation contained in your printed circular of July 9, this year, to the Government of Mexico, to cooperate with the Government of the United States in the wise movement for the abolition of tonnage and equivalent charges on navigation.

I inclose a copy of Mr. Mariscal’s note, translated, giving his reasons why, in the the present straitened condition of the finances of his country, and while its mercantile marine is but yet in its infancy, it would be impossible for the Mexican Government to accept your invitation. The movement, you will observe, he admits is based on excellent principles, but he adds that in Mexico’s present situation the advantages would be all on one side, as her vessels are few and engaged mainly in the coasting trade, while the revenues of the country are chiefly derived from the duties levied through her customhouses duties which could not be dispensed with in the absence of some other and better plan to supply the Government with the necessary funds.

I am, etc,

Thomas B. Connery.
[Inclosure in No. 244.Translation.]

Mr. Mariscal to Mr. Manning.

Mr. Minister: Having requested of the Treasury Department a report respecting the propositions contained in your excellency’s note of August 18 with regard to the abolition, by reciprocal action, of tonnage dues and equivalent charges on navigation, I have the honor to reply to your excellency that, while not failing to recognize the excellence of the bases indicated by your Government with the object of arriving at an agreement on the subject, the Government of Mexico is not able at the present time to accept such propositions, for the reason that in the present condition of the mercantile marine of the Republic the reciprocity would be illusory in view of the fact that the vessels of which it is composed are very few, and are employed for the greater part simply in the coasting trade.

On the other hand, the economical state of the country, though it has notably improved in the last few years, still feels in too marked a manner the effects of the adverse circumstances that operated against it in the past to warrant the treasury in dispensing with legitimate sources of revenue that it has gone on collecting, unless another manner of supplying the revenue could be conveniently substituted; a matter which at the present moment it would be extremely difficult to do.

With respect to the duties that are actually imposed on vessels in the ports of the Republic, I have the honor to assure your excellency that none of these duties are imposed specially on vessels of the United States or any other State, but that the regulations are general for all foreign nations alike.

Your excellency will be able, if so desired, to examine in detail the established (existing) duties in articles 17 to 20 of the general customhouse law, and in sections third, eighth, and tenth of the first article of the law of entries, issued on the 28th of April of this year.

While assuring your excellency that on the part of the Mexicau Government there exists the strongest desire to maintain and encourage commercial relations with the United States, it pleases me to reiterate, etc.,

Igno. Mariscal.