Chargé Sleeper to the Secretary of State.

No. 1474.]

Sir: In continuation of my dispatch No. 1457 of the 2d instant, and referring to department’s instructions No. 589 of the 10th instant, regarding granting the benefits of the reciprocity treaty to a cargo of rice of foreign origin milled in the United States and shipped to Cuba by the Seaboard Rice Milling Company, I have the honor to transmit to the department, herewith inclosed, copy of Mr. O’Farrill’s note No. 133 of the 16th instant, with inclosures from the Cuban treasury department (replying to my note to the foreign office No. 814 of the 31st ultimo), in which the advantages of the reciprocity treaty are refused to the rice in question.

I have, etc.,

Jacob Sleeper.
[Page 517]

Secretary of Department of State and Justice of Cuba to Chargé Sleeper.

Mr. Chargé d’affaires: Referring to your honor’s polite note No. 814 of the 31st ultimo, soliciting the granting of the benefits enjoyed by products of American industry under the treaty of reciprocity to foreign rice husked in the United States, I have the honor to inclose to you a copy of a communication from the Secretary of the Treasury, No. 2319 of the 14th instant (together with copies of the documents therein cited), relative to this matter, and beg to inform your honor at the same time that I am in complete accord with the contention upheld in the said communication.

I understand, just as in the case of Brazilian coffee roasted in the United States, that foreign rice, even though husked in a State of the American Union and thereby changed in appearance, continues to be a product of the foreign soil where it was harvested and never of American industry; for which reason I am of the opinion that the advantages of the reciprocity treaty can not be conceded to it.

I reiterate, etc.,

Juan F. O’Farrill.
[Subinclosure 1.—Translation.]

Mr. Rivera to Mr. O’Farrill.

Mr. Secretary of State and Justice.

Mr. Secretary: In reply to your communication No. 529 of the 2d instant, transmitting note No. 814 of the Chargé d’Affaires of the United States, requesting information in regard to the matter of which his letter treats, I beg to say that this department understands, in conformity with the opinion held in that under your worthy charge, that foreign rice milled in the United States and imported into this island has no claim to the benefits of the reciprocity treaty celebrated with that nation, inasmuch as it is not a product of either the soil or its industry.

I call your attention to the fact that the communication of July 27, 1904, cited in the aforesaid note, of which I inclose copy, does not refer to rice milled in the United States, but to that which shall have undergone a process of manufacture or elaboration prior to its exportation to Cuba, the cleaning of the grain being insufficient to be considered a manufacture.

I also inclose to you a copy of the ruling of the board of general appraisers in the case of an importation of rum manufactured in France from unmanufactured sugar cane from Martinique (a French possession), for which the importers claimed the benefits of the treaty of reciprocity with France. As can be seen, the board ruled that it had no right to the benefits of the treaty for the reason that the raw material from which the rum was made was imported into France and therefore had no right to the benefits of the treaty celebrated with that nation.


Rius Rivera.
[Subinclosure 2.]

Ruling by the Board of General Appraisers yesterday.

ruling, board of general appraisers—customs decisions.

General Appraiser Hay yesterday rendered a decision on the French reciprocity treaty. It was based on the assessment of duty by the collector at San Francisco. The merchandise was rum and was assessed for duty under paragraph [Page 518] 292, tariff of 1897, at $2.25 per gallon. The importers claimed that the merchandise was entitled to the benefits of the reciprocity treaty with France, and therefore dutiable at $1.75 per gallon under the provision of section 3. The protest states the rum was made in France from manufactured sugar cane from Martinique, a French possession. In a previous decision the board had held that brandy or other spirits imported from Martinique, a colony of France, are not entitled to the reduced rates of duty accorded to such merchandise produced in and exported from France by the terms of the reciprocity treaty. In line with that decision the board overruled the protest.

[Subinclosure 3—Translation.]

Mr. Chaple to Mr. Hawley.

Dear Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your courteous letter of May 28 last, and beg to say in reply that although the rice may not be a product of the United States, if it undergoes a process of manufacture or elaboration before being exported to Cuba it will enjoy the benefits of the treaty of reciprocity.

Respectfully, yours,

Guillermo Chaple.