File No. 5727/120–126.

The Swiss Chargé to the Secretary of State.


Mr. Secretary of State: When, on June 30, 1905, the Swiss Federal Council decided that the products of the soil and industry of the United States would be admitted, on and after the first of January, 1906, into the territory of the Swiss Confederation, at the same rate of customs duties as the like products of any other foreign country, the President of the United States, by his proclamation of January 1, 1906, guaranteed to Switzerland the application of reduced customs duties on articles set forth in section 3 of the tariff act of July 24, 1897, except, however, champagne and other sparkling wines.

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The commercial agreement recently signed by the United States and Germany grants to Germany the rates fixed by section 3 of the tariff act on all articles named in the section and, on the part of the Imperial German Government, concedes to the United States the rates of the German conventional tariff for a certain number of products. On the ground that by its decision of 1905 it extended to the United States every concession, without exception, made to the other States in commercial treaties, the Swiss Federal Council instructs me to express to your excellency its earnest desire that the Government of the United States will, in consideration of the measures taken in its favor, consent to adding champagne and all the other sparkling wines exported from Switzerland to this country to the list of Swiss products enjoying the reduced rates of section 3.

In addition, I also have the honor to impart to your excellency my Government’s wish that it may avail itself of the arrangement effected in the commercial agreement with Germany respecting the changes made in the customs and consular regulations as established in your excellency’s note to the German ambassador at Washington dated April 22, 1907, appended to the commercial agreement and as they may be hereafter modified according to the intimation contained in your excellency’s second note of May 2, 1907.

As regards the competence of chambers of commerce, my Government expresses a wish that the five chambers of commerce, herein-below named, be placed on the same footing as the German chambers of commerce. They are:

The “Kaumännische Direktorium” of St. Gall, the permanent bureau of the farmer merchant corporation of St. Gall, that has been in existence for centuries.
The Chamber of Commerce of Zurich, which is at the head of the commercial community of Zurich and was founded in the eighteenth century.
The Chamber of Commerce of Basle, which leads the commercial and industrial association of Basle.
The Chamber of Commerce of Geneva, on which the commercial and industrial association of Geneva is dependent.
The Swiss Chamber of Watchmakers at La Chaux de Fonds, the central official organ of the Chambers of Commerce and of the Departments of Commerce and Industry in the Cantons of Neuchatel, Vaud, Berne, and Soleure.

All these chambers of commerce have a permanent secretary’s office; they are the organs whose advice is sought by the Governments of the Confederation and the Cantons and by the other authorities upo nevery commercial and industrial question; their agency and that of the German chambers of commerce are absolutely alike.

In support whereof I take the liberty of transmitting to your excellency, under separate cover, the by-laws of the five chambers of commerce and a copy of the reports they publish every year on the condition of commerce and industry.

Hoping that the Government of the United States will bestow its benevolent attention upon these several requests of the Swiss Federal Council herein presented, I beg your excellency to accept the renewed assurances of my highest consideration.

A. de Pury.