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

No. 2980

Sir: With reference to my despatch No. 2962, of January 29, 1930, regarding flag discrimination, and to the Department’s instruction No. 1085, of January 8, 1930,14 enclosing copies of two letters from the American-West African Line, Inc., relating to the same subject, I have the honor to report that the aforesaid Line appears to be in possession of all available information pertinent to the reduction in duties accorded to cargo shipped to Angola in Portuguese bottoms.

I enclose herewith a copy and translation of a letter from the Agent General of the Colonies15 which purports to set forth all the modifications made to date in the customs tariff of Angola of March 24, 1928. No new customs tariff was put into effect during January last, as feared by the American-West African Line, which appears to have [Page 782] heard of the new customs tariff put into effect in Portugal on January 6, 1930, and to have confused this tariff with that of Angola—an entirely different and distinct customs tariff. Furthermore, as has been ascertained from the Ministry of the Colonies, no official step has been taken in Lisbon with a view to altering in any way the customs tariff of Angola, which has not been radically changed since its revision on December 5, 1928—a revision of which the American-West African Line is entirely cognizant.

It is to be presumed from the final paragraph of the American-West African Line’s letter to the Secretary of State, of November [December] 26, 1929, a copy of which accompanied the Department’s instruction under acknowledgment, that the authorities of Angola had in fact planned to modify or revise the customs tariff of the Province, but that they subsequently desisted from so doing.

Finally, it would appear from what the American-West African Line learned from other shippers that it came to a belated appreciation of a situation already existent under previously established rates and regulations, of which its competitors were only beginning to take advantage. Although the line in question may suffer from this development, American exporters, such as those who are shipping to Antwerp and transshipping from there in Portuguese bottoms, are in a position to benefit from the reduction in duties provided for in the customs tariff of Angola.

I have [etc.]

Fred Morris Dearing
  1. Latter not printed.
  2. Not printed.