Mr. Uhl to Mr. Smythe.

No. 16.]

Sir: I have received your dispatch No. 10, diplomatic series, of the 29th of November last, presenting certain considerations which suggest themselves to you touching the advisability of withdrawing the existing proclamation imposing certain discriminating duties on Haitian sugars, molasses, coffee, and hides under the third section of the customs act of October 1, 1890.

The subject has been under consideration in view of the claim of Colombia that, under its treaty with the United States, that country is entitled to receive the treatment of the most favored nation, without equivalent, inasmuch as the favor of free entry of such productions continues gratuitously to the benefit of Mexico, Argentina, and some other countries in the absence of the specifically invited agreements for commercial reciprocity.

Besides Haiti and Colombia, Venezuela comes under a similar discriminating proclamation, but the latter country, having abrogated by due notice its commercial treaty with the United States, has no conventional stipulation of favored-nation treatment to which to appeal.

The question of amendatory legislation touching the customs tariff act is under urgent consideration by the Congress, with a prospect of speedy action involving extensive changes in the existing law, and under the circumstances the President has not hitherto thought it well to take executive action calculated to forestall the expected enactments.

Wax, honey, and the other important articles of Haitian export to this country, alluded to in your dispatch, do not fall within the purview of section 3 of the customs act of 1890, and the Executive has no power to exceptionally favor the trade in articles embraced in the fixed tariff.

A copy of your dispatch will be sent to the appropriate committees of Congress, for their information.

I am, etc.,

Edwin F. Uhl,
Acting Secretary.