The Secretary of State to the Secretary of Commerce (Hoover)
Sir: I have the honor to refer to this Department’s letters of February 16 and March 10, 1925, and to your Department’s letter of April 17, 1925 (131200–N),16 concerning the tonnage duties to be assessed against Danish vessels arriving in the United States, and to enclose for your information a copy of a note that has been received from the Danish Legation at this capital under date of June 3, 1926,17 in further relation to this matter. In this note the Danish Government reiterates its contention that in view of the fact that Norwegian vessels arriving in the United States from Norwegian ports are granted the benefit of the two cent tonnage rate provided for in the Act approved August 5, 1909, Danish vessels arriving in the United States from Danish ports, under the provision for most-favored-nation [Page 727]treatment in Article I of the Treaty of 1826 between the United States and Denmark, should be accorded the benefit of the two cent tonnage rate. It will be observed that the Legation states that if this Government does not admit the contention of the Danish Government, the Danish Government reserves the right to propose that the matter be settled by arbitration with the understanding that Denmark in such a case would also claim refund of all previously paid tonnage dues in excess of the two cent rate where only the two cent rate should have been assessed.
Inasmuch as Norwegian vessels now enjoy the two cent rate by virtue of Article VIII of the treaty of 1827 with Norway, and in view of the provisions of Article I of the Treaty of 1826 with Denmark, the Department finds difficulty in answering the contention of the Danish Government. Upon reconsideration of the whole matter, the Department has reached the conclusion that unless this Government is prepared to grant the two cent rate to Danish vessels from Danish ports, it will be necessary to abrogate the Treaty of 1827 between the United States and Norway, under Article VIII of which Norwegian vessels arriving in the United States from Norwegian ports have been granted the benefit of the two cent rate, unless a new treaty supplanting the existing treaty is concluded with Norway at an early date.
I may state that on August 13, 1925, the Department submitted to the Norwegian Government the draft of a proposed Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Consular Eights, which by its terms was to supersede the Treaty of 1827.18 This draft contained no provisions corresponding to the provisions of Article VIII of the Treaty of 1827. The Department, however, has no assurance that the new Treaty will be signed in the near future and in view of the urgency of the long standing controversy with Denmark, the Department feels that it will be necessary to take effective steps to remove the discrimination which exists against Danish vessels, either by granting these vessels the two cent rate or by withdrawing the preferential treatment from Norwegian vessels, which entails the denunciation of the Treaty of 1827 with Norway.
Please inform the Department at your earliest convenience whether, in view of the considerations herein set forth, your Department perceives any objection to the abrogation of the Treaty of 1827 with Norway.
I have [etc.]