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

No. 397

Sir: I have the honor to refer to this Legation’s Despatch No. 367, of October 14, 1936,19 entitled “Uruguayan customs discrimination against certain American imports reported terminated,” with respect to a decree granting to imports of sardines and tuna fish of French origin the same benefits of customs treatment as is accorded to such products of Spanish origin by the Spanish-Uruguayan Trade Agreement of November 16, 1935,19a and to report that the decision of the Uruguayan Government to extend to similar articles of American origin like exemption from certain customs duties, has now been confirmed by the publication of an official decree.

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It will be recalled that notes were addressed by this Legation to the Uruguayan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, first, requesting similar treatment for American sardines and tuna fish in oil, and then, when this was declined on the ground that no treaty with the United States existed which would justify such action, inquiring as to the treaty provision under which this privilege had been extended to French sardines.

A reply, dated October 30, 1936, has now been received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reading as follows:

“With reference to Your Excellency’s Note of July 31st last, relative to the preferential treatment granted by Uruguay to imports of sardines and tuna fish in oil of Spanish origin, and similar treatment granted for such products of French origin, I have the honor to inform you that in virtue of the representations made by this Chancellery to the Ministry of Finance, the Executive Power has dictated the decree copy of which is appended by which sardines and tuna fish in oil imported by Uruguay of American origin are exempted from the surcharge in gold (recargo a oro).”

A copy of the decree, with English translation, is enclosed. The Department will note that it refers to the request of this Legation and states that

…“although no commercial agreement has as yet been made with the United States of America, the treatment which that country grants to Uruguayan merchandise is beneficial, because it is the same as that which is given to the imports of other favored countries by means of commercial agreements, and in consequence our goods receive most favored treatment. While this preferential treatment conceded to our goods continues, there is no objection to exempting from the payment of the surcharge in gold requested, because this would amount to reciprocating the facilities which are granted to us.”

The decree was published in the Government gazette Diario Oficial on October 31 last.

Respectfully yours,

Julius G. Lay
  1. Not printed.
  2. The treaty, signed at Montevideo January 2, 1935, was ratified November 16, 1935.