Diplomatic Agent Jackson to the Secretary of State.
Sofia, June 6, 1906.
Sir: I have the honor to report that I addressed a note to the Bulgarian ministry of foreign affairs yesterday, stating that I was “authorized by my Government to propose that reciprocal most-favored-nation treatment should continue to be applied in the commercial relations between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Bulgaria.”
After the conclusion by Bulgaria of commercial treaties with Germany, Great Britain, Russia, France, and Italy, the Bulgarian Government decided to accord most-favored-nation treatment upon conditions of reciprocity, pending the conclusion of new agreements (dispatch No. 101), to the products of countries with which agreements had been made in the past. Subsequently I ascertained that some difference of opinion existed as to the exact manner in which American products should be treated. During my present visit to Bulgaria I have had several conversations in regard to this matter with Mr. Petkow, the minister of the interior, who is the actual leader of the party now holding office and who is temporarily acting as minister of foreign affairs (in the absence of General Petroff, who was sent to Madrid for the royal wedding), with officials of the foreign office, and with others—and the result has been the sending of the note mentioned above. I felt authorized to do this on the strength of the department’s instructions, Nos. 16, 19, and 22 of this series, of April 27, 1905, and February 17 and March 30, 1906, respectively. I called attention to the contents of the first of these instructions, which had been duly communicated to the foreign office at the time it was received.
I left with Mr. Petkow a copy of the President’s recent proclamation in regard to “Reciprocity with Germany,” as well as an original copy of the German law extending to American products the benefits of Germany’s latest commercial treaties.
The understanding is that the Bulgarian ministry of foreign affairs will send me at once a note accepting my “proposition” and that a decree (ukase) will be printed in the Official Gazette (as was done in the case of Belgium, Roumania, and other countries with which no new commercial agreements have yet been made), extending to American commerce the benefits accorded by the five commercial treaties mentioned above. What these benefits are can be ascertained most conveniently by reference to a British parliamentary paper (“Translation of the New Customs Tariff of Bulgaria, modified by Commercial Conventions with the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Italy, 1906”) in which the autonomous and conventional tariff rates are given in parallel columns, which was published a short time ago, and which I presume to be on file at the department.
In return, it is expected that the President will issue a proclamation in regard to Bulgaria, similar to that which was issued recently in regard to Germany, at the earliest practicable date.[Page 142]
I have been careful to explain that the right is reserved to revise the American tariff at any time, and nothing has been said in regard to the period during which the proposed understanding shall continue. In this way we may obtain most-favored-nation treatment from Bulgaria for the present at least and until further notice of some kind is given.
I shall inform you at once on the receipt of the Bulgarian minister’s answer to my note, and on the publication of the anticipated princely decree, and I hope to be informed that my action in this matter has met with your approval.
I have, etc.,