The Secretary of State to the British Chargé (Osborne)

Sir: I have received your note No. 304 of September 9, 1931, with further reference to the proposed modification of Article III of the Treaty of 1833 between the United States and Muscat.

It is noted that the Muscat State Council has come to the conclusion that the negotiation of the draft treaty enclosed with the Department’s note of October 4, 1930, would present difficulties and that His Majesty’s Government hopes that this Government will be prepared to consent to a modification of the provisions of Article III by means of an exchange of notes which would become operative at once.

The Department fully appreciates the desirability of enabling the Muscat State to increase its revenues in order that it may proceed in its orderly development. As was pointed out in the Department’s note of May 23, 1930, this Government has no objection in principle to the increase of customs duties in Muscat, provided that such duties are non-discriminatory. In view of constitutional requirements, however, the United States is not in a position to enter into an exchange of notes the purpose of which is to amend an existing treaty. Such a purpose could be effected only by the conclusion and ratification of a new treaty.

It is hoped therefore that the Muscat State Council will be able to reconsider the possibility of negotiating such a new treaty along the lines of the draft submitted with the Department’s note of October 4, 1930, in which case the Department would be glad to consider any minor amendments of the draft which the Council might desire to propose. It should be pointed out, however, that it is not the policy of this Government to negotiate new treaties providing for the levying of specific rates of import duty on goods of American origin, and that it would be prepared to consider the modification of Article III of the treaty of 1833 only on the basis of most-favored-nation treatment.

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If the Muscat State Council is in a position to negotiate a treaty along the lines suggested the Department would be prepared, in view of the financial situation in Muscat, and as an exceptional measure, to give assurances that no objection would be offered, pending the approval or rejection of the treaty by the United States Senate, to the collection of higher duties on goods of American origin imported into Muscat than those provided for in Article III of the Treaty of 1833. Such assurances would be given, however, on the understanding that the Muscat State Council would, in its turn, furnish assurances that pending the same period American nationals in Muscat would receive the treatment specified in the proposed new treaty.

Accept [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
W. R. Castle, Jr.