654.113 Typewriters etc/21

The Chargé in Switzerland (Bigelow) to the Secretary of State

No. 4528

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s instruction No. 3640 of July 25, 1936, respecting the imposition of a stamp tax of four percent on payments of duties on nearly all classes of products imported into Switzerland.

The Legation has ascertained that the tax in question is levied on imports of American goods listed in Section A of Schedule I of the trade agreement between Switzerland and the United States. Since it does not appear that the tax was required to be imposed by the laws of Switzerland in effect on the day of signature of the agreement, I have taken the matter up with the competent Swiss authorities with a view to securing exemption of these imports from the tax. A copy of the Legation’s note to the Commercial Division of the Department of Public Economy, dated August 12, 1936, is enclosed.16

Prior to the delivery of the note just cited, I spoke of this matter to the Acting Director of the Commercial Division who stated that he preferred not to discuss the question until the return to Bern of the Director of the Division, Dr. Hotz, and of Mr. Walter Stucki, Delegate of the Federal Council for Foreign Trade. He recalled, however, that there had been a question, before the adoption of this tax measure by the Federal Council on January 31, of the possible bearing of this tax on the trade agreement with the United States.

The Department is informed that Mr. Stucki will return to Bern next week from his vacation and that the Legation’s note will then be [Page 810] brought to his attention by the Acting Director of the Commercial Division. I will endeavor further to impress on Mr. Stucki, on the first possible occasion, the Department’s views in this matter.

The Legation has consulted the American Consulate General in Zurich and was informed by Mr. Frost that no protest had been brought to the Consulate General’s attention by any American firm or Swiss importer, presumably for the reason that the actual amounts involved have been small and because it is applied without distinction as to country of origin of the merchandise concerned.

Any information received from the Swiss authorities as to their reaction to the Legation’s representations will be reported without delay.

Respectfully yours,

Donald F. Bigelow
  1. Not printed.