Baron Saurma to Mr. Gresham.
Washington, August 28, 1894.
Mr. Secretary of State: I have the honor to communicate to your excellency the following in pursuance of instructions received from His Majesty the German Emperor, King of Prussia:
In the act which took effect to-day, entitled “An act to reduce taxation, to provide revenue for the Government, and for other purposes,” there appears in Schedule E, 182½, the provision that sugar from countries that pay an export bounty is liable to an additional duty of one-tenth of a cent per pound.
In the course of the negotiations which took place in the Congress of the United States of America in connection with the tariff question the Imperial Government took the liberty to point to the fact that such a measure could not be reconciled with the most-favored-nation clause which governs the economic relations of the two countries, but that it was rather a differentiation whereby the exportation of German sugar to the United States of America was more unfavorably treated than that of several other European countries.
The expectation that (as might have been anticipated from the longstanding relations of amity between the two nations) these considerations would not be without influence upon the decisions of the legislative bodies of the United States has, unfortunately, not been realized.
The Government of His Majesty the Emperor is consequently once more compelled to repeat that, after most careful consideration, it is convinced that the levying of an additional duty on German sugar is in harmony neither with existing stipulations nor with those tendencies which the exchange of notes of August 22, 1891, called forth.
The granting of an export bounty on sugar is a domestic affair of Germany.
An intent not to fulfill its treaty stipulations, based upon the most-favored-nation clause, can not, therefore, be inferred from this by any other country.
It is needless to dwell upon the fact that the view which has been manifested by the legislative bodies of the United States would render the effects of the most-favored-nation clause illusory, and that it would expose the contracting parties to the adoption of arbitrary duties, which it is the object of treaties containing a most-favored-nation clause to prevent.
The Imperial Government feels conscious that it has always conscientiously fulfilled the duties rendered incumbent upon it by the most-favored-nation clause, and it consequently deems itself authorized to expect similar action on the part of the United States of America.
The Government of His Majesty the Emperor is consequently compelled to protest against the discriminating provisions of the act of August 28, 1894.
I avail myself, etc.,