No. 71.
Mr. Bell to Mr. Bayard.

No. 214.]

Sir: I have the honor to report to you that as soon as a favorable opportunity presented after the receipt of your dispatch No. 81, of January 5, I called unofficially upon his excellency the minister of foreign affairs, to communicate to him the gratification of the Government of the United States at the friendly form of the proposal of His Majesty’s Government as presented through Mr. Weckherlin’s note of the 8th of November, 1886, respecting a reciprocal arrangement looking to the [Page 1946] abolition of tonnage dues in the case of vessels engaged in navigation between the two countries.

In compliance with the request contained in your dispatch, I intimated unofficially, in conversation with his excellency, that the Government of the United States was eminently gratified with the good spirit which had apparently prompted the Government of His Majesty in resorting to the channels generously provided by our legislation for drawing closer our relations with other States.

I took occasion at the same time to express my confidence that the Government of the United States fully recognized the soundness of the request made by His Majesty’s Government, and that an arrangement would doubtless be speedily reached whereby the benefits of the act of June 19, 1886, would be extended to those ports in the Kingdom of the Netherlands and such ports in the Dutch East Indies as fulfill the conditions required by the act in question.

His excellency, after having expressed great pleasure at the information which I communicated to him, replied in substance that he was very solicitous for an early adoption of the necessary measures, as he was constantly in receipt of reclamations upon the subject from interested parties.

His excellency referred especially to the steamship lines plying between the ports of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and New York, which he said were now strugging for an existence, and, while adding that every extra expense was very hard for them to bear, expressed considerable anxiety to know when it is likely that the necessary arrangements will be consummated.

In conclusion, I may add that my entire interview with his excellency was most cordial, and his expressions of satisfaction were undisguised both at the nature of the communication and the manner of your instructions.

I have, etc.,

Isaac Bell, Jr.