Minister Dawson to the Secretary of State.
Santo Domingo, March 7, 1906.
Sir: Referring to the subject of my No. 213, of the 3rd ultimo, the collection of the sugar production tax, I have the honor to confirm your telegram, as follows:
Washington, February 22, 1906.
Department does not wish you to take any part in the proposed settlement between the sugar planters and Dominican Government looking to twenty years exemption from taxation, on immediate payment of one hundred thousand dollars. We have no right to interfere against any agreement that planters may make with Dominican Government, but we look with disfavor on that kind of agreement.
In this connection the Department may be interested in the fact that some two months ago the matter of making a large cash payment in consideration of the Dominican Government’s granting concessions to the paying planters to produce sugar for twenty years without liability to taxation, was discussed among persons in this Republic interested [Page 615]in the production and exportation of sugar. They had a conversation on the subject with the minister of finance with a view to ascertaining whether he would accept such a proposition and guarantee its receiving the sanction of the proper legislation. He answered that he had no authority nor desire to enter on any arrangements for this or any other compromise; that personally he did not favor the Government’s tying the hands of future administrations. His duty was confined to endeavoring to collect the tax already due, and his power did not extend beyond that of granting an extension of time. He could not grant a reduction of amount, nor would he recommend that Congress grant one. He did believe, however, that the tax imposed by the present law was an undue burden on the sugar industry, and he would be glad if Congress on its own initiative should repeal it at the approaching session.
I have reason to believe that the minister has not since changed his views on any of these points.
I have the further honor to confirm your telegram, as follows:
Washington, February 24, 1906.
Kelly & Co. report sugar central Ansonia Co., Azua, refused shipment until tax paid for the year and previous years. Appears to be in violation of assurance given you no action would be taken pending termination Bass suit.
I confirm my telegraphic reply to you as follows:
Santo Domingo, February 27, 1906.
Dominican Government repeats that it has not given and will not give orders to prevent sugar shipments Azua or elsewhere pending termination Bass suit.
The present status of the Bass suit in the supreme court is as follows: Having appealed to the supreme court from the judgment on the merits rendered against him in the lower court, he failed to appear in the former when the case was called. Default was taken, and a notice of that fact served on his attorneys. But it appears that under the practice here he has a right to suspend the enforcement of the judgment of affirmation by answering this notice, and thereafter to be heard on the merits in spite of his default. Having filed this answer, or notification of an intention to defend, the case is therefore now pending before the supreme court.
I have, etc.,