Mr. Buck to Mr. Hay.
Tokyo, October 4, 1899.
Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of a note addressed by me to the Japanese minister of foreign affairs concerning the registration of transfers by assignment of titles to property held under perpetual leases in the foreign settlements of the country.[Page 316]
It seems to me that the requirement of payment, as a revenue to the Government, of 2½ per cent of the value of any property held under a perpetual lease, confirmed by the treaty, is inadmissible—that such a burden placed upon the property should not be borne by the assignee, who should stand in the same position in respect to such property, in all respects, as the original holder.
That a title to property under a perpetual lease should be registered as a superficies, thereby restricting the uses of the property, and, perhaps, the duration of its use, seems to me clearly inadmissible, as it certainly would change the conditions contained in the original lease.
Though I may possibly be in error in my position in respect to the registration tax of 2½ per cent of the value of the property since there is no law compelling an assignee to register, I am confident that I am correct in my opinion as to the registration of property as a perpetual superficies being in violation of treaty stipulations in respect of such property.
Awaiting notification of the decision of the Japanese Government in reply to my note, I have the honor to ask instructions upon the questions involved, that I may make no mistake should I insist upon the Japanese Government recognizing the correctness of the position I have already taken.
I have, etc.,