The Secretary of State to the German Chargé (Kiep)

The Secretary of State refers to the communication of August 31, 1928, from the Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of Germany, requesting to be informed as to the conditions under which German commercial travelers will be permitted to carry on their business in the United States, and informs the Chargé d’Affaires that the Department of this Government which has had the matter under consideration states that foreign salesmen coming to the United States are not now required to take out any license, either Federal or local, and are not subject to any tax for the right of carrying on their business in this country. There is no objection to having the German Government make public an announcement to this effect.

The Department which has been considering the question assumes that the Chargé d’Affaires is familiar with the provisions of the American Tariff Law relating to the treatment of samples of foreign commercial travelers, and with the provisions of the American Income Tax Law regarding the taxation of income earned in this country, whether by citizens of the country or aliens.

As of possible interest to the Chargé d’Affaires, attention is invited to Section 308 of Title III of the Tariff Act of 1922, which Section provides for the admission of samples, for use in taking orders for merchandise, free of duty under bond for a six months’ period. Section 308 is in part as follows:

“Sec. 308. That the following articles, when not imported for sale or for sale on approval, may be admitted into the United States under such rules and regulations as the Secretary of the Treasury may prescribe, without the payment of duty under bond for their exportation within six months from the date of importation:

“. . . . . . .

“(4) Samples solely for use in taking orders for merchandise;

“. . . . . . .”

(42 Stat. 858, 938)

Articles 406 to 413, inclusive, of the Customs Regulations of 1923, issued by the Treasury Department, relate to the importation of articles free under six months’ bond.

A copy of the Revenue Act of 1928 (Public No. 562, 70th Congress), containing income tax provisions, is herewith enclosed.60

The Department to which this matter was referred requests that the Chargé d’Affaires furnish a statement showing the procedure that will be followed in Germany in issuing the cards of occupational identity referred to in the note of the Chargé d’Affaires of August 31, last, [Page 926] to American commercial travelers who arrive in Germany without the certificate provided for in Paragraph (b) of Article XIV of the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Consular Rights between the United States and Germany. The Secretary of State will therefore appreciate it if the Chargé d’Affaires will furnish such a statement in order that the information may be available to American business men who plan to visit Germany.61

  1. 45 Stat. 791; not printed.
  2. In a note of July 29, 1929 (711.622/115), the German Embassy informed the Department as follows (file translation revised): “Those American commercial travelers who come to Germany without the evidence provided for in article 14 of the treaty of commerce, friendship and consular rights between the German Reich and the United States of America, must apply orally to the proper police authorities of the place for a license to do business, presenting a valid passport accompanied by a photograph. In addition, information is required as to which American firm (nature and place of business) the applicant represents. The presentation of such information cannot, therefore, be waived, because, under the applicable law, a corresponding entry must be made in the license to do business. Delivery of the license to do business follows promptly through the local police authorities upon payment of the administrative fee which ranges from 3 to 10 Reichsmarks.”