Mr. Buck to Mr. Hay.
Tokyo, Japan, December 29, 1899.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of instruction No. 260, of the 6th ultimo, in reply to my dispatches Nos. 364 and 365, of the 4th and 6th of October last, in respect to perpetual leases in foreign settlements in Japan being confirmed, under the treaty, without other conditions being imposed than are prescribed in existing leases, stating that, in the confirmation of such leases, no change in vested rights can be effected by requiring them to be registered as perpetual superficies, if such would be the effect, thus approving the position taken by me in that regard. Concerning the assignment of such leases, however, I am instructed that, as between private parties for private purposes, citizens of the United States are subject to the same registration fee or charge as is imposed upon Japanese subjects, unless the original leases stipulate to the contrary.
I now have the honor to report that by imperial ordinance (copy inclosed) the Japanese Government has so amended the law of registration as to recognize that perpetual leases of property in foreign settlements can be registered as such without change, instead of as perpetual superficies as heretofore required, thus substantially though indirectly conceding my claim in that particular.
In respect to the requirement that a registration tax of 2½ per cent on value to be paid by the assignee of a perpetual lease in foreign settlements between private parties, I infer from a conversation which I have had with the minister of foreign affairs that such registration [Page 319]tax is not to be enforced—conceding my contention that such tax ought not to be required to be paid in consideration of the stipulations of the leases themselves and the provisions of Article XVII of the treaty—though it will be enforced upon registration of mortgages and other liens on such property.
I have, etc.,