860P.512 Residence/27

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Latvia (Cole)

No. 882

Sir: The Department refers to the Legation’s despatch No. 7864 of July 9, 1931, enclosing a copy of a Note addressed to the Latvian Foreign Office under date of May 22, 1931, and a Memorandum incorporating statements made by an official of the Foreign Office on May 22 [July 6], 1931, regarding fees charged American citizens registering as aliens residing in Latvia, and to previous correspondence on this subject.

The Department is of the opinion that in view of the provisions of the Treaty of Commerce and Consular Rights between the United States and Latvia, signed on April 20, 1928,11 American nationals in Latvia are entitled to treatment with respect to registration charges no less favorable than that accorded to the nationals of the most favored nation, which in this instance appears to be Estonia. Nevertheless, in view of the small amount of the fees and of the expressed willingness of the Latvian authorities to charge American citizens fees no higher than those charged British subjects, it does not wish to pursue the matter further at this time.

The Legation in its telegram No. 75 of September 7, 1928,12 and its despatch No. 5601 of October 3, 1928,13 stated that British nationals [Page 328] registering as alien residents of Latvia [are] charged two lats per annum. Since this statement apparently conflicts with that contained in the Legation’s despatch No. 7864, referred to above, it is suggested that a further investigation be made of the amount which British nationals actually are paying. If within a reasonable period arrangements are not made by the Latvian government so that American citizens are charged fees no higher than those charged British subjects, the Department should be notified.

It is desired that the Legation address no further formal communications to the Foreign Office regarding this subject without the specific authorization of the Department.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
James Grafton Rogers