Mr. Bayard to Mr. Bell.
Washington , January 5, 1887.
Sir: Soon after the approval of the socalled “Dingiey” shipping act of June 26, 1884, the governments of several European countries laid claim to an extension to their commerce of the privilege conceded to neighboring navigation, under the fourteenth section of that act.
The correspondence on the subject is printed in the inclosed executive document. The Government of the Netherlands did not then claim the benefits of the act under the most favored nation stipulations of treaty with the United States.
On the 19th of June last an amendatory act was approved, by the eleventh section of which reciprocal arrangements with foreign countries were authorized, looking to the reduction or abolition of tonnage dues. Since the passage of that act the Netherlands Government has offered to enter into the proposed reciprocal understandings. Copy of Mr. de Weekherlin’s note of the 8th November, 1886, is inclosed for your information.
A delay has arisen in making the favorable response which is due alike to the soundness of the Netherlands’ request and to the good spirit which has apparently prompted that Government to refrain from a technical demand, and to resort to the channels generously provided by our legislation for drawing closer our commercial relations with other States.
It would probably have a good effect if you were to intimate unofficially and in conversation to his excellency the satisfaction we feel at the form of the Netherlands’ proposal and our hope that an arrangement may be speedily reached.
As illustrating the character of the claim preferred by other governments, I inclose for your information copies of recent correspondence on the subject had with the Swedish and Norwegian minister at this capital.
I am, etc.,