Mr. Patenôtre to Mr. Gresham.


Mr. Secretary of State: With reference to the discrepancies existing between the methods of admeasurement in France and in the United States, resulting from modifications introduced during the past few years in the French regulations applying to the admeasurement of merchant vessels, you were pleased to inform this embassy, in a note dated December 21, 1893, that it was impossible for the Federal Government to continue in force the agreement of 1888–’89 and to request us to join you in seeking the terms of a new agreement harmonizing with American legislation. My Government, to which I had transmitted your communication in good time, informs me, that, in accordance with the decision of the department of finance, it is willing to act upon that proposal. The eventual arrangement might, like that of 1888–’89, be concluded by means of an exchange of diplomatic notes.

It might rest, as regards the adjustment of navigation taxes, on the reciprocal acceptance of special certificates of measurement issued by the proper authorities of either country according to the rules enforced in the other. This new arrangement appears to remove all possible difficulty, since the tonnage of our vessels would henceforward be measured in France according to the American rules.

In order to avoid all risks of error in the special certificates which the French customs would be called upon to issue to our vessels, the French administration would wish to be given the official text of rules concerning the admeasurement of merchant vessels as applied in the United States. You would oblige me by enabling me to meet that wish and sending me several copies of the said rule.

I have the honor, for my part, to inclose herewith four copies of the circular of the French customs service, dated February 10, 1893, accompanied by the text of the decree of May 24, 1873, and all the modifications therein introduced by the decrees of July 21, 1887, March 7, 1889, and January 31, 1893.

Accept, etc.,