The Minister in Uruguay (Lay) to the Secretary of State

No. 269

Sir: Referring to the Department’s instruction No. 70 of April 18, 1936, I have the honor to report that on June 4th, when calling the attention of the Foreign Minister to the Legation’s unanswered note of April 27, 1936,13 regarding tariff privileges that are granted by treaties to Brazilian pine lumber and to sardines in oil and tuna fish in oil from Spain over the same products from the United States, I took advantage of this appropriate opportunity to informally express to the Minister the observations set forth in the last paragraph of the Department’s instruction first above mentioned.

This conversation with the Minister has evidently had little effect, at least for the present, since the Legation has received the enclosed note dated June 23, 1936 from the Foreign Office stating in effect that, owing to the existence of treaties with Spain and Brazil, Uruguay cannot accord equality of customs treatment to these products from the United States and the note makes no mention whatever of the observations in the Legation’s note of April 27, 1936 regarding the discrimination resulting from its practice of converting that portion of Uruguayan customs duties payable in gold at different rates according to origin and nature of importation. The Foreign Office note in the last paragraph indicates, however, a willingness to consider the question of according equality of treatment to products from the United States when the matter of a trade agreement is discussed with the Government of the United States.

The Uruguayan Government is apparently unwilling to make an announcement that Uruguay intends to pursue a policy of strict equality of customs treatment in accordance with the principles of the resolution adopted by the Seventh International Conference of American States as long as it believes that the present bilateral bargaining treaties and private “banking agreements” are essential to maintain Uruguay’s export markets, especially in Europe, and therefore it seems to be opposed, at least for the present, to make an announcement that would nullify these treaties and agreements.

Respectfully yours,

Julius G. Lay
[Page 948]

The Uruguayan Minister for Foreign Affairs (Espalter) to the American Minister (Lay)

Mr. Minister: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of Your Excellency’s Note of April 27, last, in which you bring up the question of the preferential treatment which this country specifically accords for imports of Brazilian pine—when brought into the country over land or by river—and for imports of sardines and tuna coming from Spain.

The present customs procedure applied to this class of imports derives, as is well known, from the commercial agreements signed with Brazil14 and with Spain.15 In both cases the contracting Governments have granted each other reciprocal or compensatory advantages.

For this reason, for the present at least, equality of treatment cannot be offered for similar United States products.

The Government of Uruguay, nevertheless, shall give its best consideration to this subject presented by your Legation when the matter of an agreement for the purpose of intensifying commercial interchange between both countries is discussed with the Government of the United States.

I reiterate [etc.]

For the Minister:
Luis Guillot

Director General
  1. Presumably note sent to the Foreign Minister in accordance with Departments instructions No. 54, February 12, p. 943, and No. 70, April 18, supra.
  2. Signed at Rio de Janeiro, August 25, 1933; for text see League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. clxxvi, p. 393.
  3. Signed at Montevideo, January 2, 1935; for text see ibid., vol. cxxiv, p. 95.