Mr. Terres to Mr. Hay.
Port an Prince, January 2, 1904.
Sir: I have the honor to report that protests have been sent to this legation by Messrs. Kouri, C. Lyon Hall & Co., H. Pohlmann, and H. Stark, American merchants here, relative to the license-tax law.
The authorities refuse to issue the necessary papers whereby these gentlemen would be enabled to pay the customs dues on goods consigned to them and take them from the custom-house unless they comply with the license-tax law of August 10 last. The delay in the settlement of this question is inclined to do considerable harm to our citizens doing business in this country. Some of them have had merchandise lying in the custom-house for the past two months and are greatly in need of them, especially during the present holiday season, when sales are good and the detention causes great embarrassment to them and possible pecuniary loss.
The only communication with Mr. Powell is on the 10th of each month, and when he has any communication to make to this Government it takes nearly three months before he can receive an answer. This is the present case. His dispatch from Santo Domingo to this Government relative to the license-tax question, delivered on the 10th of December last, conveying the views of the Department on the subject, has remained without reply, evidently waiting for the date of the next mail for Santo Domingo.
In view of this difficulty, I would most respectfully request that if Mr. Powell is still to remain in Santo Domingo for any length of time that whatever instructions the Department may see fit to give on the question be sent direct to this legation, that it may be able to act thereon, to the end of arriving at a more speedy solution of the matter, for as it now stands I am unable to make any move or suggest anything to our citizens to relieve them from their embarrassment.
I am, etc.,