The Swedish Minister (Wallenberg) to the Secretary of State
Excellency: In accordance with instructions received from my Government I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that the Swedish Government, after having acquainted itself with Paragraph 8, Section 213, of the new American Revenue Law for 1921, mentioned in the note of the Department of State dated December 21, 1921,2 regarding exemption from taxation of ships of a foreign country granting equivalent exemption to citizens of the United States, has noted with great satisfaction the principle emphasized in said paragraph.
I am further authorized to state that my Government has immediately taken under consideration the adoption of such measures as will prove to the satisfaction of the United States’ Government, that American shipowners reciprocally are exempted from taxation in Sweden.
The Government of Sweden interprets the American law in this instance as intended to express the principle that exemption from taxation on terms of reciprocity is desirable in order to promote the mutual interests of the United States and other countries. The above mentioned principle having been agreed upon, and provision for its application incorporated in the new American Revenue Law, the Government of Sweden begs to express the hope that such legislative measures may be taken as will have the effect of making the said provision effective, not only as from January 1, 1921, but will also cover the years 1917, 1918, 1919 and 1920. When framing statutes regarding the exemption from taxation of foreign shipowners in Sweden, the Swedish Government will be guided accordingly.
As a matter of fact, I understand that the shipowners of Sweden have generally understood that the exemption now in force in America [Page 876]would cover past as well as future taxes, and they have not prepared their tax returns for that reason. They have now been advised that the present law, strictly construed, may not apply before January 1st, 1921. Because of their prior understanding, they will not now be able to complete the preparation of their returns by February 14th, when their time expires. Under these circumstances, I am instructed by my Government to ask that, pending the advice of Your Excellency, a further extension of six months may be granted Swedish Shipowners within which to file their returns. With renewed assurances [etc]