The Diplomatic Agent and Consul General at Tangier (Denning) to the Secretary of State

No. 117

Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith translation of a communication recently received at this Agency from the Spanish High Commissioner at Tetuan, and to report briefly in this regard.

[Page 586]

Some days ago, the agent in Tetuan of one of our Protégés for Signal Services Rendered, Mr. David S. Bergel, complained of the fact that the Spanish Customs Authorities at Rio Martin, the port of Tetuan, refused to release a certain quantity of sugar which Mr. Bergel was importing from the United States, unless a 10 per cent consumption tax was paid, to the application of which tax to its ressortissants the United States has never even been requested to give its consent, so far as this Agency is aware.

Since the United States has not recognized the so-called Spanish Zone of Influence in Morocco, this Agency did not consider it proper to communicate directly with the Spanish High Commissioner at Tetuan, in order to protest against the action of the Spanish Customs Authorities mentioned above and to request that the shipment of American sugar to our Protégé, Mr. Bergel, be released to him. …

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I have [etc.]

J. M. Denning

The Spanish High Commissioner at Tetuan (Silvela) to the American Diplomatic Agent and Consul General (Denning)

Excellency: By “Dahir” published in the “Official Bulletin” of July 10, 1922, a tax upon the consumption of Sugar, Tea and Coffee, having been put into force in the Zone of the Spanish Protectorate in Morocco, and the Government of His Majesty, feeling assured that the Government of the United States, with whom Spain is united by such friendly relations, will not raise obstacles in the way of whatever reforms are deemed necessary by Spain, entertains the hope that in this particular matter, the Diplomatic Representative of the Government of Washington in Tangier, will kindly give his assent to the application of the taxation in question, and will issue instructions to American citizens and protégés to submit to the dispositions concerning the payment thereof; and for which this High Commission, in the name of the Madrid Government, begs to express its acknowledgment, in anticipation.

I further esteem that the channel employed to obtain the assent of the Government of the United States will be sufficient under the circumstances, but if it should not be so, the Madrid Government is prepared to address itself directly to Washington.

I avail myself [etc.]

Luis Silvela