The Ambassador in Great Britain (Bingham) to the Secretary of State

No. 144

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Embassy’s despatch No. 35 of June 6, 1933, and to previous correspondence on the subject of the assessment of the British tax on the private incomes of American consular officers in Great Britain, and in this connection to transmit herewith a copy of an informal communication, with its enclosure, from the Foreign Office, dated July 31, 1933.35

This note states in writing what has already been pointed out orally at the Foreign Office on previous occasions, namely, that “it would not be possible to make any concession to United States consular officers in the present matter without an alteration of the law on the subject. To secure such alteration would involve serious difficulties, and any concession designed to meet the case would have to be extended not only to United States consular officers but to those of foreign countries generally. [Page 35] This would entail a departure from policy and practice which in present conditions it would hardly be possible for His Majesty’s Government to contemplate”.

I may add in conclusion that the Foreign Office has repeated that foreign consular officers in this country are exempt from the payment of income tax in respect of their official emoluments, and that as regards other monies the liability of an American consular officer in Great Britain “so far as concerns income from sources outside the United Kingdom, would be on only such part of that income as is received in or remitted to the United Kingdom.”

I venture to indicate that oral conversations at the Foreign Office do not suggest any likelihood that the attitude of the British Government as set forth in its latest communication will be modified.

Respectfully yours,

For the Ambassador:
Ray Atherton

Counselor of Embassy
  1. Not printed.