The Acting Secretary of State to Ambassador Meyer.

No. 50.]

Sir: The Department has received and given careful attention to your dispatch No. 16 of April 28 last, relating to your interview with Mr. Timiryazeff, privy councilor and assistant to the Russian minister of finance, respecting the removal of the discriminating tariff duties to which certain American products are subjected in that Empire.

* * * * * * *

If, and when, in your judgment, it shall appear that further efforts to secure the unconditional removal of the existing discriminations to which American export interests appear to be entitled will be unavailing, you may, in accordance with the suggestion contained in the [Page 805]inclosed letter from the Treasury Department, sound the Russian Government as to its willingness to adjust existing differences by means of a commercial agreement with the United States on the basis of section 3 of the tariff act of 1897. * * *

I am, etc.,

Alvey A. Adee.
[Inclosure.]

The Secretary of the Treasury to the Secretary of State.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 31st ultimo, transmitting a copy of a dispatch from the American ambassador to Russia relative to Russian discriminative tariff treatment of certain products of the United States.

As stated by the ambassador, the assessment of duty by the United States on sugar and petroleum products was not made under a revocable order of this Department by way of discrimination against Russian commercial interests, but under mandatory provisions of law in section 5 and paragraph 626 of the tariff act of July 24, 1897, which apply alike to importations from all countries granting a bounty on exportation or imposing a duty on petroleum or its products from the United States.

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The wish of the privy councilor, the ambassador adds, “was to build a bridge, no matter how light, that we might cross in order to come together,” and that “if the United States would make small concessions Russia would make great ones.” In view thereof it is suggested that section 3 of the tariff act of July 24, 1897, might be made the basis of an agreement accomplishing the purpose in view, although none of the articles on which a reduction of duty is provided for in that section might be an important article of export from Russia.

Respectfully,

L. M. Shaw.