Mr. Hay to Mr. Storer.

No. 251.]

Sir: Your dispatch No. 185, dated March 29, 1899, is received. You observe that the minister of foreign affairs had just informed you “that the royal decree raising the prohibition of the importation of American cattle will be officially promulgated during the first week in April.” You add that you “will advise the Department by cable of the official promulgation of the royal decree.” As the Department has not yet received such advice, it is presumed that the decree has not yet been published.

The last revision of the bounty applicable to the Belgian sugar crop gave the following as the reduced and lowest rates possible under the law, namely: On raw sugar, 4.05 francs; on refined sugar, 4.60 francs.

As longer delay in liquidation of duties on Belgian sugar proves inconvenient to the Treasury, it has been decided to announce at once the liquidation in accordance with the above reductions, which are somewhat more favorable than those which you indicated to the Belgian Government under former instructions. The Treasury circular for the adjustment of duties at 4.05 francs instead of 4.50 francs and at 4.60 francs instead of 5.36 francs is now issued, bearing date April 18, 1899.

Any reductions of present bounty paid in Belgium to be effected under the new law will, of course, be met by corresponding reductions in the countervailing duty here.

We can not doubt that the Government at Brussels will announce on its part the friendly act of reciprocity so long expected.

I am, etc.,

John Hay.