The Ambassador in Germany (Schurman) to the Secretary of State

No. 1895

Sir: I have the honor to inform the Department that according to the German customs regulations now in effect the non-commissioned American personnel of this Embassy is not exempted from the payment of duty on articles received from abroad for their personal use and to request that, if the Department has no objections, an arrangement be proposed whereby the Embassy personnel may enjoy the privilege of free entry.

As the German regulations are based on reciprocity it would appear that if the free entry privilege were granted to the German personnel at the German Embassy in Washington the same privilege would be automatically extended by the German Government to the American personnel of this mission. In fact, an official of the Foreign Office recently told one of my staff that they were willing and even desired to make this reciprocal arrangement.

The Department’s attention is also invited to the fact that the American personnel of the United States Consulates in Germany is being granted free entry privileges by the German Government which, I am informed, gives a liberal interpretation to Article XXVII of the Consular Treaty, recently concluded,65 and includes the American noncommissioned personnel as members of the consular officer’s suite.

I have the honor to enclose a copy of the German customs regulations, Reichszollblatt dated February 11, 1926,66 which sets forth in detail the procedure followed by the German customs in regard to the foreign missions in Germany and shows that the privilege of free entry is enjoyed by the non-commissioned personnel of a large number of the foreign missions in Berlin, e. g., China, Japan, Ecuador, Hungary, Persia, Norway, Greece, Czechoslovakia, and others.

I should appreciate appropriate instructions from the Department in the matter.

I have [etc.]

Jacob Gould Schurman
  1. Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Consular Rights Between the United States and Germany, signed Dec. 8, 1923; Foreign Relations, 1923, vol. i, pp. 29, 43.
  2. Not printed.