The Secretary of State to the Chargé in the Netherlands ( Johnson )

No. 151

Sir: The Department refers to your despatch No. 325 of September 23, 1930, concerning the extension of the free importation privilege on a reciprocal basis to American and Dutch consular officers and encloses for your information, copies of a letter of February 19, 1931, and of the enclosure thereto,8 received from the Treasury Department with regard to the granting of exemption from excise taxes to Dutch consular officers in this country.

You will observe from this communication that the Treasury Department takes the position that in the absence of appropriate treaty provisions between the United States and the Netherlands, exemption from excise taxes cannot be included in the free entry privilege for articles imported by consular officers of the Netherlands.

You are consequently instructed to convey this information to the appropriate authorities of the Netherlands and to express this Government’s regret that it finds itself unable to comply with the request of the Netherland Government in the premises, adding that it is hoped that this will not affect in any way the existing reciprocal agreement with regard to the privilege of free entry accorded by both countries to consular officers of the other.

It is the Department’s understanding that as a matter of practice the Treasury Department does not in fact levy excise taxes on goods which are imported free of duty by foreign consular officers in the United States. It is suggested, therefore, that you bring this fact to the informal attention of the appropriate Netherland authorities with a view to assuring the continued existence of the present free entry agreement.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Wilbur J. Carr
  1. Neither printed.