Mr. Abbott to Mr. Blaine.

No. 71.]

Sir: It having been reported in the New York press that there is a law in Colombia forbidding coast trade (comercio costanero, i. e., trade between ports of entry and points not ports of entry) in vessels of over 4 tons burdens, I take this occasion to say that no such law or regulation exists.

The minister of foreign affairs, in a memorandum upon this matter, after citing article 9, section 6, article 302, and article 12 of the fiscal code, says: [Page 254]

To sum up all, merchandise duly introduced into the custom-houses with all the formalities prescribed for importations can be carried to the coast of San Blas, being dispatched from the port of importation according to the regulations for comercio costanero, and the productions of said coast can be exported only through some port of entry after having been brought there for that purpose.

Articles 316 to 318 of said code contain the proceeding to be observed in carrying on comercio costanero.

Certain articles, of which I have just spoken, treat of small vessels (embarcaciones menores), which, it seems, are those which do not exceed 10 tons burden, according to the resolutions of April 19, 1877, and April 26, 1881. * * * But the dispositions which refer to that class of vessels treat only of coast commerce (comercio de cabotage), which is that carried on between two ports of entry. The res alt is that for coast trade (comercio costanero) there exists no condition whatever relative to the capacity of vessels (embarcaciones).

A telegram has been received from President Nuñez announcing the termination of the difficulties relating to the “schooners,” from which it is supposed that both the Pearl and the Julian (which I now understand sailed under the Dominican flag) have been released.

At this date nothing more is known of the condition of affairs.

I have, etc.,

John T. Abbott.