File No. 711.1216M/155.

The Secretary of State to the Mexican Ambassador.

No. 361.]

Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your excellency’s note No. 401 of the 7th instant, conveying the information that [etc.].

I beg of your excellency to accept the expression of this Government’s gratification over the friendly and considerate attitude of the Mexican Government in this matter.

The Department notes with regret, however, the suggestion that there appears to be some objection to admitting free of duty materials for subsistence and supplies. In this connection, I beg to direct your excellency’s attention to the fact that as the-work is to be done by the Mexican company over whose land the levee will be constructed, it is certain that the company will insist upon furnishing to the contractors such supplies as they are able to furnish, which it would appear are principally beef and beans, together with the forage for such animals as may be used in the construction work. There may, however, be a number of articles of food and general supplies which can not be furnished by the Mexican company, and which, owing to the great distance from the Mexican markets and the lack of transportation facilities, will have to be imported into Mexico from the United States. As your excellency will readily perceive, the duties upon such materials of subsistence and supplies may constitute a considerable item in the matter of the contractor’s bid, which will have of necessity to be considerably higher if he is to make allowance for the payment of customs upon such articles, and this will of course operate to reduce the money which can be put into the actual construction work of the levee itself. As this fund is at best barely adequate to meet the expenses of this work, the payment of customs might be found to have an unfavorable effect upon the proper construction of the levee.

I therefore sincerely hope that the Government of Mexico will find upon investigation that the granting of such privilege of free importation will not be incompatible with Mexican interests.

I also have the honor to bring to your excellency’s attention the fact that the Secretary of the Interior has requested this Department to approach you upon the matter as to whether or not, should the necessary congressional authority for free importation be delayed, it will be possible for your excellency’s Government to arrange for the accumulation of duties without requiring payment thereof, in order [Page 550] that if the suggested legislation is finally adopted by the Mexican Congress the accumulated duties may be formally remitted, and thus avoid the necessity of a formal refunding of duties paid.

I should be glad if your excellency would consult the Government of Mexico as to its pleasure upon both of these points.

Accept [etc.],

P. C. Knox.