Mr. Uhl to Mr. Sherman.

No. 296.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, on the 12th instant, of the Department’s instruction of the 1st, No. 323, and to inclose herewith a copy of a note to-day addressed by me to the German foreign office, based upon the information contained therein, in regard to the treatment of American woods on railways in Germany under Government control. As for the reasons mentioned in my note, the original papers submitted by the Austro-American Stave and Lumber Company were transmitted to the foreign office, and in order to save time no translations of these papers were made.

I have, etc.,

Edwin F. Uhl.
[Inclosure in No. 296.]

Mr. Uhl to Baron Marschall.

The undersigned, ambassador, etc., of the United States of America, referring to his note of the 26th ultimo, F. O. No. 186, on the subject of the alleged discrimination against American woods in the freight tariff on railways in Germany under Government control, has the honor to [Page 244] transmit herewith, for the information of His Excellency Baron Marsehall von Bieberstein, Imperial secretary of state for foreign affairs, certain original papers, which are requested to be ultimately kindly returned, which were sent to the United States State Department by the Austro-American Stave and Lumber Company, of Shreveport, La. Some of these papers have already been transmitted to the foreign office, or referred to in former correspondence had by the embassy on this subject, but it is now thought proper to submit them in their present condition, as they constitute the case which the company mentioned has put before the United States Government.

  • No. 1 of these papers, the Continentale Jolz-Zeitung, refers to the decrease of the American timber import and to the petition of the stave consumers in Germany to the Prussian minister of public works to abolish the difference in the freight rates for American staves.
  • No. 2, bill of lading for 12,500 kilograms American oak, shows an excess charged of 8 marks per 10,000 kilograms, in comparison to European oak.
  • No, 3, bill of lading for 12,420 kilograms oak staves, rough split, and so entered in the bill of lading, notwithstanding which 31 marks were charged in addition to the exceptional tariff rates.
  • No. 4 is a copy of the judgment upon statement by experts in the Royal Amtsgericht at Altona, by which the railway authorities are ordered to refund the excess charges collected.
  • No. 5 is copy of the judgment in the court of appeal by which the decision in the first court is reversed and judgment given against the plaintiff by the Royal Laudgericht at Altona.
  • No. 6 is apparently wanting, but is referred to by the stave company in its letter to the State Department as the decision of the Amtsgericht at Dortmund against the railway authorities.
  • No. 7 is the opinion of the Forstmeister Jentsch about American timber.
  • No. 8 is the opinion of certain “Handlskommer” in regard to the use of American timber.
  • No. 9 is the decision of the Landgericht at Dortmund reversing the decision referred to as No. 6.
  • No. 10 is the opinion of the cooperage firm of M. B. Bodenheim, of Cassel.
  • No. 11 is a letter from the lawyer, Dr. B. L. Oppenheimer, of Hamburg, to Mr. Max Grünhut, of the same place, containing advice as to further legal proceedings.

From these and other papers, already submitted, it seems clearly to be shown that the opinions of experts and the decisions of the courts of first instance agree in regard to the similarity in the nature, and the uses to which they are applied, of American and European oak, and in the opinion also that there is very little, if any, difference in their value. The undersigned therefore ventures to express the hope that, as by far the greater part of the railways in Germany are under the control of the Government, and as the determination of freight charges is to a great extent an administrative act, it will be found possible to so interpret the freight tariff in this connection that the causes for complaint may soon be removed.

The undersigned avails himself, etc.,

Edwin F. Uhl.