Ambassador Tower to the Secretary of State.
Berlin, February 19, 1906.
Sir: I have the honor to call your attention to a note which I have received, under date of the 11th of January, 1906, from the Imperial German ministry for foreign affairs, in relation to the subject of the payment of church taxes by American citizens resident in Germany, a copy and a translation into English of which are respectfully herewith inclosed.
It has been the custom heretofore to exempt American citizens residing in Germany from the payment of church taxes here upon proof being made by them, usually through diplomatic channels, that they are members of an American or Anglican church situated in or near to the place of their residence. But under the provisions of a statute enacted in Prussia on the 14th of July, 1905, which will enter into effect on or about the 1st of April, 1906, a new system will be adopted for levying church taxes upon foreign citizens and subjects residing in Prussia. That statute provides that such foreign citizens and subjects resident here shall be exempt in future from the payment of church taxes in Prussia only in cases where the royal ministry of state shall have certified in the Prussian statutes that Prussian subjects are reciprocally exempt from the payment of church taxes in the native countries of such foreign citizens and subjects; and I am called upon by the Imperial German ministry for foreign affairs to answer the question whether Prussian subjects are exempt from payment of church taxes when resident within the United States of America.
As there is no state church in the United States, so there is no church tax imposed, in so far as I am informed, either by the Federal Government or the several State governments, and consequently Prussian subjects residing within the United States of America are exempt from the payment of church taxes. I have the honor to request that I may be instructed to make formal answer in this connection to the inquiry of the Imperial German ministry for foreign affairs. The ministry has requested that this answer may be given, if possible, before the 1st of April, 1906.
I have, etc.,