The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Cuba (Cable)
Sir: The receipt is acknowledged of your despatch No. 1007, dated June 27, (apparently an error for July 27), 1921, transmitting a clipping from the Havana Post of July 25, 1921, containing an English translation of a message delivered by President Zayas to the Extraordinary Session of the Cuban Congress.
In view of the reference in this message to the effect which it is supposed that the Fordney Tariff Bill now pending in the Congress of the United States would, if it should become law, have on Article VIII of the existing Treaty of Commercial Reciprocity between the United States and Cuba, you are informed that Section 319 of the Bill, which is apparently the portion referred to, does not purport to affect Article VIII in its entirety, but only the proviso of that Article which is as follows:
“That while this convention is in force, no sugar imported from the Republic of Cuba, and being the product of the soil or industry of the Republic of Cuba, shall be admitted into the United States at a reduction of duty greater than twenty percentum of the rates of duty thereon as provided by the tariff act of the United States approved July 24, 1897,93 and no sugar, the product of any other foreign country, shall be admitted by treaty or convention into the United States, while this convention is in force, at a lower rate of duty than that provided by the tariff act of the United States approved July 24, 1897.”
The following provision of Article VIII of the treaty would be unaffected if the Fordney Bill should be enacted:
“The rates of duty herein granted by the United States to the Republic of Cuba are and shall continue during the term of this convention preferential in respect to all like imports from other countries, and, in return for said preferential rates of duty granted to the Republic of Cuba by the United States, it is agreed that the concession herein granted on the part of the said Republic of Cuba to the products of the United States shall likewise be, and shall continue, during the term of this convention, preferential in respect to all like imports from other countries.”
Neither would the provisions of Article II of the Convention, which read as follows, be affected:
“During the term of this convention, all articles of merchandise not included in the foregoing Article I and being the product of the soil or industry of the Republic of Cuba imported into the United States shall be admitted at a reduction of 20 percentum of the rates of duty thereon as provided by the Tariff Act of the United [Page 793] States approved July 24, 1897, or as may be provided by any tariff law of the United States subsequently enacted.”
Sugar is not one of the articles of merchandise included in Article I of the Treaty as then being imported into the United States free of duty and therefore comes within the scope of Article II and has to be admitted at a reduction of 20 percent of the rates of duty provided by any tariff law of the United States.
Your attention is called to the fact that this Section 319 of the pending Fordney Bill is identical with Paragraph B, Section IV of the Tariff Act of October 3, 1913.94 The proviso of Article VIII forbade a preferential reduction to Cuba from the full duty greater than 20 percent of the full duty imposed on sugar in the act of 1897. In 1897 the full duty on 96° sugar was 1.684 cents per pound, 20 percent of which is 0.3368. In the Fordney Bill the full duty on the same grade is 2 cents per pound, 20 percent of which is 0.4 of a cent.
The sole purpose of the provision in the Tariff Act of 1913, which is repeated in the pending Bill, appears to have been to eliminate the reference to the Tariff Act of 1897, which was in force when the Reciprocity Treaty was negotiated in order that there could be no misunderstanding concerning the true intent of the Treaty that the preferential treatment given to Cuban imports should, at any given time, be based on the tariff law in force at such time, as provided in the last clause of the above quotation from Article II of the Treaty.
You are instructed to bring these facts to the attention of General Crowder and, in cooperation with him, to the attention of the appropriate officials of the Cuban Government.
I am [etc.]