The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Spain ( Moore )

No. 21

Sir: Concerning the recent demand for payment of a consumption tax on alcohol imported into the Spanish Zone of Morocco, you are instructed to prepare a Note to the Spanish Government in the following sense:

“It appears that by the ‘Dahir’ of March 14, 1916, a consumption tax of fifty centimes per liter was imposed upon alcohol imported into the Spanish Zone of Morocco, and that by a subsequent ‘Dahir’ issued in August, 1922, the tax was increased to one peseta per liter.

“The Spanish Government is, of course, aware that American citizens and protégés in Morocco are exempt from taxation except insofar as consent to such taxation has been given by the Government of the United States. The consent of my Government to the application of this tax to American citizens and protégés does not appear to have been requested by the Hispano-Shereefian Authorities and consent thereto has not been given by my Government. The first instance coming to the attention of my Government in which American interests have been affected by the tax is that of the American Semsar, Cohen, who, for the purpose of obtaining possession of a shipment of Holland Gin consigned to him at Larache and detained by the customs authorities at that place, was advised by the American Diplomatic Agent and Consul General at Tangier in August last to pay the tax under protest.

“In a note which I had the honor to address to the Minister of State on the … of July, 1923, (here give the date of the Embassy’s note to the Foreign Office advising of this Government’s assent to the tax on sugar, tea and coffee—see Department’s telegram No. 47 of July 27th, 5 p.m.12) I informed your Government of my Government’s assent to the payment by American citizens and protégés of a consumption tax on sugar, tea and coffee. I am now authorized to inform Your Excellency that as a further evidence of my Government’s desire not to interfere with any reasonable fiscal measure in the Spanish Zone of Morocco it is prepared to consent to the tax on alcohol at such a time as it is informed of the acquiescence therein by other Governments concerned and of the return to Mr. Cohen of the amount of the tax wrongfully collected from him on the shipment of gin referred to above.”

[Page 596]

The Department leaves to your discretion the advisability of presenting this Note to the Spanish Government at the present time or of withholding it for use in connection with the negotiation of a commercial agreement with Spain.13

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
William Phillips
  1. Not printed.
  2. See pp. 831 ff.