The German Chargé (Leitner) to the Secretary of State
Mr. Secretary of State: By instruction of my Government I have the honor to invite the attention of Your Excellency to the following matter, with the request for examination and further action, and would be especially grateful for promptness in the premises:
Section 601, Paragraph (a) of the “Revenue Act of 1932”45 contains the following provision:
“In addition to any other tax or duty imposed by law, there shall be imposed a tax as provided in subsection (c) on every article imported into the United States unless treaty provisions of the United States otherwise provide.”
In Section 601, Paragraph (c) (5) it is further stated:
“Coal of all sizes, grades and classifications (except culm and duff), coke manufactured therefrom; and coal or coke briquettes, 10 cents per 100 pounds. The tax on the articles described in this paragraph shall apply only with respect to the importation of such articles, and shall not be imposed upon any such article if during the preceding calendar year the exports of the articles described in this paragraph from the United States to the country from which such article has been [is] imported have been greater in quantity than the imports into the United States from such country of the articles described in this paragraph.”
On the basis of this provision the following executive order was issued:
“T.D.45751 of June 20, 1932:
As the total exports of coal, coke and briquettes described in Section 601 (c) (5) from the United States to Canada exceeded the total imports of the same commodities from that country to the United States during the calendar year 1931, and the total exports of such commodities from the United States to Mexico exceeded the total imports from that country during the same period, no tax shall be collected during the calendar year 1932 on such articles imported into the United States from Canada or Mexico.”
I have the honor, upon the basis of Article VII, Paragraphs 2 and 4 of the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Consular Rights between Germany and the United States of August 20, 1925,46 to request that the exemption set forth in the foregoing passages, enjoyed by the Canadian and Mexican coal imports according to the above, be extended also to German coal imports. In Article VII, Paragraphs 2 and 4 of the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Consular Rights between the United States and Germany, it is set forth:
“Each of the High Contracting Parties binds itself unconditionally to impose no higher or other duties or conditions and no prohibition on the importation of any article, the growth, produce of [or] manufacture, of the territories of the other than are or shall be imposed on the importation of any like article, the growth, produce or manufacture of any other foreign country.
“Any advantage of whatsoever kind which either High Contracting Party may extend to any article, the growth, produce or manufacture of any other foreign country shall simultaneously and unconditionally, without request and without compensation, be extended to the like article, growth, produce or manufacture of the other High Contracting Party.”
A discrimination against the importation of German coal in the face of the importation of coal from Canada and Mexico appears according thereto inadmissible under the Treaty.[Page 504]
According to the view of the German Government the same applies also under Article VIII of the said Treaty, wherein it is set forth:
“The nationals and merchandise of each High Contracting Party within the territories of the other shall receive the same treatment as nationals and merchandise of the country with regard to internal taxes, transit duties, charges in respect to warehousing and other facilities and the amount of drawbacks and bounties.”
According thereto, also, the duty which would be imposed upon German coal would be unjustified.
In addition to the placing of German coal, coke and briquettes upon the free list, I would also be thankful for your kind intervention in procuring, on the basis of this statement, the refunding of whatever duties have been collected already.
As the German coal importation, which of itself is comparatively insignificant in volume, has been affected most keenly by the measures taken, I have the honor again to beg Your Excellency to cause the requested action to be taken by the proper domestic authorities with special haste.