653.116/66: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Portugal ( Dearing )


1. The American-West African Line, Inc. has stated to the Department that it may be compelled to abandon its United States-Angola service owing to certain discriminations in tariffs in Angola which it is understood were to have been raised about January 1, 1930.

The understanding is that freight sent direct to Angola in Portuguese ships or freight sent to Lisbon and from there to Angola in Portuguese ships obtains tariff reductions in Angola which freight sent to Angola on ships of the United States and of other foreign countries does not receive. (See Angola import tariff of March 24, 1928, revision of December 5, 1928, articles 1–7.)

The report is that, in order to benefit from the reductions which can be had by shipping via Lisbon, a large volume of freight is going off the direct route and that this is causing serious injury to the direct American line.

[Page 778]

Please again call to the attention of the Portuguese Government, if you have no objections, this question of their shipping discriminations and say that we hope that in the near future some way can be discovered to do away with this source of argument between their Government and ours. You should remind them that in the United States full national treatment is accorded to their ships in foreign trade so far as dues and charges levied upon such ships and their cargoes are concerned, and that we ask for nothing more than, reciprocally, a similar absence of discriminatory treatment for our ships in ports which are under Portuguese jurisdiction. Before taking further steps you will perhaps wish to talk with your colleagues in order to learn, in regard to these discriminations, what, if any, action their Governments have in mind.

Your views would be welcomed by the Department as to the wisdom of refusing national treatment to Portuguese ships in the United States as is contemplated by American law in such a situation as this (see sections 4228, 4219, 4225 and 2502 of Revised Statutes, as well as section 26 of the Shipping Act of 19167 and section 19 of the Merchant Marine Act of 19208). You will naturally not forget that any such action by us might bring to an end the commercial agreement brought about by an exchange of notes signed June 28, 1910 (Treaty Series No. 514½),9 according to which most-favored-nation treatment is granted in this country to Portuguese vessels.

  1. 39 Stat. 728, 737.
  2. 41 Stat. 988, 995.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1910, p. 828.