Mr. Hay to Sir Julian Pauncefote.
Washington , November 25, 1898 .
Excellency: By a proclamation dated April 7, 1885, upon proof then appearing satisfactory that no tonnage and light-house dues or other equivalent tax were imposed upon vessels of the United States arriving at the island of Trinidad, British West Indies, the President of the United States, by virtue of the provisions of section 14 of the act of Congress approved June 26, 1884, “to remove certain burdens on the American merchant marine, and to encourage the American [Page 334] foreign carrying trade, and for other purposes,” did declare and proclaim that from and after the 7th day of April, 1885, the suspension of the collection in ports of the United States upon vessels arriving from any port in the island of Trinidad “of so much of the duty at the rate of 3 cents per ton as may be in excess of the tonnage or lighthouse dues or other equivalent tax or taxes imposed on American vessels” by the government of the island of Trinidad.
And by a proclamation dated December 2, 1891, upon proof then appearing satisfactory that no tonnage or light house dues or other equivalent tax or taxes were imposed upon vessels of the United States in the ports of the island of Tobago, one of the British West India Islands, the President of the United States, by virtue of the authority vested in him by section 11 of the act of Congress entitled “An act to abolish certain fees for official services to American vessels, and to amend the laws relating to shipping commissioners, seamen, and owners of vessels, and for other purposes,” approved June 19, 1886, did declare and proclaim that from and after the 2d day of December, 1891, the suspension of the collection of the whole of the tonnage duty imposed by said section of said act upon vessels entered in the ports of the United States from any of the ports of the island of Tobago.
It appearing from the copy of the ordinance of Trinidad and Tobago inclosed with your note of the 7th instant that from and after the 1st day of July, 1898, tonnage or equivalent taxes have been imposed upon American vessels entering the ports of those islands, and that, consequently, the conditions contingent upon which the proclamations above referred to were issued no longer exist, the President is constrained to issue his proclamations revoking said proclamations of April 7, 1885, and December 2, 1891.
Before doing so, however, it is deemed considerate and proper to bring the subject to your timely attention, as I now have the honor to do, in the possibility that the charges imposed by the ordinances of Trinidad and Tobago since the agreements of 1885 and 1891 may be found to be in conflict therewith and be rescinded in season to avoid the necessity of issuing revocatory proclamations, as the President is required by statute to do should the conditions under which the original proclamations were issued be ascertained to no longer exist.
I have, etc.,