The American Consul General at Beirut (Knaienshue) to the Chief of the Diplomatic Bureau of the French High Commission at Beirut (Hoppenot)46


Dear Mr. Hoppenot:

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If I am correct in my summing up, and a review of the correspondence and of my conversations with you, M. De Reffye, and others of the High Commission lead me to believe that my summing up is correct, I believe that I can now, after a further intensive study of the question, offer a solution of the problem which will reconcile our respective points of view and provide a modus operandi for its execution. ‘I, therefore, propose:

That the institutions in question be permitted unlimited customs exemption on all articles necessary for their installation, maintenance and development.
That each institution benefiting by this privilege shall pay an ad valorem tax of 1% on all articles imported free of duty.
That the tax so collected shall be devoted to the maintenance of a Bureau of Control, to be established for the purpose of investigating all importations on which customs exemption is claimed, with the object of preventing a fraudulent abuse of the privilege.
That each demand for customs exemption be accompanied by a deposit equal to the amount of customs duty, which deposit shall be refunded, less the 1% tax, when the importation is finally approved by the Bureau of Control as being entitled to customs exemption.
That it shall be obligatory for the institutions enjoying the privilege of customs immunity to furnish any explanations with regard to their importations which may be demanded by the Bureau of Control, and to submit to inspection, by the Bureau of Control, of their books and such of their operations as may be necessary, in order to determine whether any articles imported by them free of duty are necessary, both in respect to kind and quantity, for the installation, maintenance or operation of the institutions.
That appropriate penalities be imposed upon any institution against which fraudulent abuse of the privilege is established by the Bureau of Control after its findings shall have been examined and approved by the High Commission.
That any disputes, arising between the Bureau of Control and the institutions which do not involve fraudulent abuse of the privilege, but merely covering questions involving a determination as to whether a certain kind of article or quantity of articles imported free of duty are necessary for the installation, maintenance or operation of the institutions, shall form the subject of discussion between representatives of the High Commission, the Bureau of Control, the American Consulate General and the institution involved. But the final decision, after such discussion, shall rest with the representative of the High Commission.

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Yours sincerely,

P. Knabenshue
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Consul General as one of the enclosures in his despatch No. 2763, September 25, 1928; received October 18, 1928.