Chargé Winthrop to the Secretary of State .

No. 198.]

Sir: Referring to Mr. Collier’s Nos. 162 and 164 of September 3d and September 5th, ultimo, respectively, I have the honor to inform you that the Hispano-Swiss treaty of commerce, which was signed at Berne on September, 1906, was presented to the Cortes for ratification on the 10th instant. It was agreed between the two contracting powers that the treaty was to be kept secret until presented for ratification, and that it must be ratified on the part of both countries before November 20, 1906, on which date the present modus vivendi expires. The exposition or preamble begins by pointing out the far-reaching consequences of the denunciation on August 31, 1904, by the Swiss Federal Council of the Hispano-Swiss treaty of commerce of June 13, 1892, since upon this was based commercial conventions with most of the other nations.

It then goes on to allude to the provisional arrangements made with Switzerland, that of August 29, 1905, and that of February 10 of the present year, which came to an end on July 1 last. From that date until the present treaty was signed on September 1 there ensued a tariff war between the two countries, the new Spanish tariff making it impossible to meet the exigencies of the Swiss Government. The present treaty fortunately put an end to this state of things. The preamble then points out that in addition to securing reductions for the most important Spanish exports it has secured more especially and with great difficulty the same treatment as has been accorded to Italy for Spanish wines entering Switzerland. This, in fact, is the chief raison d’être of the treaty.

The treaty itself begins by granting a reciprocal most-favored-nation treatment. It then declares that the most-favored-nation treatment does not apply to the special concessions granted by Spain to both Portugal and Morocco.

The treaty is to remain in force for a period of eleven years, from November 20, 1906, to December 31, 1917.

The principal reductions made by Spain upon imports from Switzerland are as follows, the figures being compared with the second column of the tariff:

Asbestos wrappings, which pay 25 pesetas per 100 kilograms instead of 45 under the minimum column of the tariff; kitchen utensils and enameled ware, which pay 30 pesetas instead of 80; cows’ milk, 35 pesetas instead of 80; electric motors, 18.50 pesetas, 30 pesetas, and 20 pesetas instead of 75 pesetas; steam engines, 35, 30, and 20 pesetas instead of 35 pesetas; pumps of various kinds, 25 pesetas instead of 30 pesetas; machinery for making stockings of more than 70 kilograms and loose pieces pay 30 instead of 40 pesetas; condensed and sterilized milk, 50 instead of 100 pesetas; beds and other household utensils of iron and steel, 45 instead of 50 pesetas; machinery for manufacturing paper, ice, 18.50 instead of 22 pesetas.

The above figures from the treaty are taken from the printed copy distributed among the deputies. If the treaty is ratified, the treaty will be published officially in the Gaceta and a copy will be duly [Page 1356] transmitted to the department. There exists a great deal of opposition to the treaty among the conservative part and the representatives of the manufacturing interests. These last are frankly opposed to any treaty giving reductions below the minimum column of the tariff. The conservatives are opposed to it on the ground that no commercial treaty should be signed, not merely ratified, without the previous consent of the Cortes. The length of time which it is to run, eleven years, also meets, with serious opposition. The probability is that the treaty will be ratified, and in that case the German and French treaties, when negotiated, are also likely to be ratified, the ratification of the present treaty being regarded rather as a test case.

I have, etc.,

Robert M. Winthrop.