Mr. Hay to Mr. Buck.
Washington, February 17, 1900.
Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch No. 394, of the 12th ultimo, in which you report that in an interview with the Japanese minister for foreign affairs, you have learned that the requirement of the ordinances that the registration of perpetual leases of property in the foreign settlements or transfers thereof should be made in the chihosho (local government office), instead of the registry office proper, as also the use of the term “perpetual lease” as synonymous with “perpetual superficies” were because the law had made obligatory the payment of 2½ per cent of value as a registration tax or charge upon such property at the registry office, and also because the law did not recognize the registration of perpetual leases as such, and that as an ordinance could not directly repeal or annul the provisions of the law in those respects, it became necessary in order to meet the objections made by you and others, to indirectly, by ordinance, recognize perpetual leases in parenthesis only and by changing the place of registration to relieve perpetual lease holders from the registration charge of the 2½ per cent of value.
In reply I have to say that as a practical solution of the difficulty, the course described is unobjectionable, so far as appears, especially so, as it is not shown that this solution works any hardships.
I am, etc.,