The British Chargé (Osborne) to the Secretary of State

No. 352

Sir: I have the honour to inform you, under instructions from His Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, that His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom are anxious to secure [Page 969] the cooperation of the United States Government with a view to effect the removal of the customs discrimination practised by the Portuguese Government in favour of Portuguese shipping—a discrimination which is contrary to general international practice (as embodied, for example, in the Maritime Ports Convention) and to the navigation policy of Great Britain and all other important maritime Powers.

I am informed that the Portuguese Government, as a result of longsustained pressure from His Majesty’s Government and other interested Governments, published on September 12th decree No. 20,304 providing for the elimination by stages of the customs discrimination in question.

Article 1. of this decree provides that customs bonds shall be reduced from ten per cent to eight per cent for imports carried in Portuguese bottoms and from twenty per cent to sixteen per cent for similar exports for foreign ports, these reductions to apply to all goods embarked on and after October 15th, 1931: secondly that thereafter bonds shall be “successively reduced until it is abolished”. No dates are specified.

On September 26th His Majesty’s Chargé d’Affaires at Lisbon addressed a note to the Portuguese Government expressing the disappointment of His Majesty’s Government that the first reductions should be twenty per cent only and requesting assurances that there should be further rebates to five per cent and ten per cent respectively within six months with the prospect of total abolition within another eighteen months, i. e. by October 15th, 1933.

I am desired by the Marquess of Reading7 to express the earnest hope that the United States Government will instruct their representative at Lisbon to support the above-mentioned representations.

I have [etc.]

D. G. Osborne
  1. British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.