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Mr. Fish, Sec. of State, to Mr. Adee, chargé, No. 484, Dec. 21, 1876, VS.
Inst. Spain, XVIII. 63; Mr. Fish, Sec. of State, to Mr. Cushing, min.
Mr. Adee, chargé, No. 532, May 29, 1877, id. 158.
upon foreign and native occupiers and workers, presents no ground
" Referring to your letter of the 9th of March last, in relation to the repayment by Colombia of forced loans exacted on the Isthmus in July, 1877, I have to inform you that the Department has given the matter attention and has corresponded on the subject with the viceconsul-general at Bogota.
“It is unquestionably true that the repayment now being made by Colombia falls short of the refunding of the sums originally taken, to say nothing of interest. At the same time it may be worth while for those from whom the loans are exacted to consider whether it may not be expedient to accept this partial payment, as the Department is informed that nearly all of them have done.
“ The subject of extraordinary exactions in the form of forced loans is not new to the Department, which has been frequently required to act upon the subject, especially in Cuba, and in Mexico. Where a specific provision of treaty can be invoked, the matter can be readily treated; but in the absence of such a provision, grave difficulties have been encountered. So that in 1879 the Department instructed Mr. Foster, United States minister at the City of Mexico, as follows: * The Department concurs in your belief that further discussion of the question of forced loans must be fruitless unless the Mexican Government can give assurance of its willingness to take up the subject with a view of reaching an international agreement thereon.'
“In the present instance the matter is complicated by the fact that the exaction in question has not been made the subject of correspondence between this Government and that of Colombia, as constituting an international claim."
Mr. Moore, Third Assist. Sec. of State, to Mr. Robinson, June 29, 1889, 173
MS. Dom. Let. 487.
(5) CUSTOMS LAWS.
Complaint was made by an American firm against the Government of Guatemala for causing some packages of imported merchandise to be opened. “ Though the inconvenience to which those gentlemen may have been subjected by that proceeding may," said the Department of State, “be a subject of regret, it is apprehended that exemption from it can not be claimed on the principle of international law which you suppose may be applicable to the case. In the absence of a treaty, at least, that Government may carry into effect its municipal law in regard to importations from abroad in such way as may be deemed necessary for the protection of its revenue. The same right will be exercised here in respect to importations by citizens of Guatemala into the United States."
Mr. Fish, Sec. of State, to Mr. Williamson, min. to Central America, Feb.
15, 1875, MS. Inst. ('osta Rica, XVII. 232. In å subsequent letter Mr. Fish said: “It is believed that all govern
ments exercise the right to open packages of imported merchandise when there may be cause to suspect that their contents have been misrepresented. This privilege therefore must be allowed to the Government of Guatemala. Under these circumstances there do not appear, at least for the present, to be grounds for making the case referred to an international one." (Mr. Fish, Sec. of State, to Mr. Williamson, min. to Central America, March 15, 1875, MS. Inst. Costa Rica, XVII. 235.)
May 22, 1883, the Congress of Costa Rica passed a law declaring Limon to be a free port for 10 years, the law to take effect August 10, 1883. June 19, 1884, the same Congress, without previous notice of its intention, repealed this law and reestablished the former tariff on imports. It was stated that the publication and execution of the act of June 19, 1884, were simultaneous, and that protests made on behalf of foreign interests were disregarded. The minister of the United States in Central America was instructed that the subject was “ deemed a proper one to submit, as you have already done, to the sense of equity and fair dealing of the Government of Costa Rica.” Should that Government deny responsibility, as of right, for the losses inflicted, he was directed to transmit to the Department of State any claims for loss growing out of the act in question, “ and at the same time urge upon the Government of Costa Rica the right of this Government to be fully indemnified for all losses sustained by citizens of the United States by reason of the repeal, without reasonable notice, of the law which declared Limon a free port of entry for a period of ten years."
Mr. Frelinghuysen, Sec. of State, to Mr. Hall, min. to Central America,
Aug. 20, 1884, For. Rel. 1884, 41. See, also, Mr. Hunter, Acting Sec. of State, to Mr. Hall, min. to Central
America, Oct. 13, 1884, For. Rel, 1881, 45. September 13, 1884, the legation reported that the Costa Rican minister
for foreign affairs had declined to consider Mr. Hall's protest against the immediate application of the decree of revocation, alleging that the law of May 22, 1883, merely specified the maximum duration of the period during which Limon was to be a free port, and did not bind the Congress to maintain the privilege. The legation, however, at the same time reported that a decree had been issued by virtue of
which the “principal articles” of trade could be imported free of duty for the use of the district of Limon. November 25, 1884, the legation further reported that no claims of American citizens had reached it, and that the Government seemed to have permitted free importation of all goods that were ordered under the guaranties of the former law, and had thus avoided motive for complaint. (For. Rel. 1884, 42, 45.)
By a decree of June 14, 1882, the Guatemalan Government declared Livingston a free port, and an adjacent strip of territory, lying between the Sarstoon River and Santo Tomas, a free zone, from January 1, 1883. This decree was duly carried out, but in 1888 the Government, without previous notice, issued a decree closing the port of Livingston, transferring the custom-house to Yzabal, and abolishing the free zone. As Yzabal was the former site of the custom-house, its transfer to that place was not expected to cause serious inconvenience, but it appeared that many foreigners, among whom were some Americans, had purchased land and established plantations in the free zone under the guaranties and inducements held out by the decree of 1882. Mr. Hall, then United States minister in Central America, deemed it his duty, under the circumstances - to invite the attention of the Guatemalan Government to these facts; to a consideration of the injuries that those interests are likely to sustain in consequence of the abolition of the free zone, and to suggest that its enforcement, at least, shall be postponed until they shall have been assured against losses.” In reporting his action he referred to the correspondence with Costa Rica in 1884, touching the case of Port Limon, supra.
Mr. Hall was advised that his action was approved and that the instructions sent to him in 1884 in the case of Port Limon sufficiently stated the principles by which his conduct should be guided.
He subsequently reported that the Guatemalan Government had reconsidered the matter, and had temporarily suspended the enforcement of that part of the decree which related to the free zone. The custom-house had already been transferred to Yzabal.
Mr. Hall, min. to Central America, to Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, July
21, 1888, For. Rel. 1888, I. 159–160; Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, to Mr. Hall, min. to Central America, Aug. 14, 1888, id. 162; Mr. Hall, min. to ('entral America, to Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, Aug. 14, 1888, id. 162-163.
“Mr. Donaghy states that he took a trip to Europe last year, that on landing at Queenstown he was arrested by the British Government for having two revolvers and two boxes of cartridges in his baggage, and that he was fined five pounds and costs, together with forfeiture of the articles in question. . .
“ The right of independent governments to prohibit and punish the introduction of contraband articles is unquestionable. Our own Government exercises the right at its pleasure. It is widely known that the British Government seizes many articles found in the baggage or on the persons of passengers entering its ports, such as firearms and munitions, unauthorized reprints of copyright books, foreign manufactures which contravene the British trade-marks act, tobacco, liquors, and gold or silver plate.
" In some cases the law is satisfied with forfeiture of the contraband articles, in others a penalty is superadded. It is not alleged that the penalty in Mr. Donaghy's case was unusual or excessive. It is not, in fact, thought to be greater than would have been imposed according to the laws of several of our States, had he been found carrying the property concealed. The act of attempted introduction of these articles being itself unlawful, it is not possible to determine what weight is to be attached to Mr. Donaghy's averment that he had them in his possession “for a perfectly legitimate purpose.
“So far as the facts appear from Mr. Donaghy's letter, the case does not seem to call for any action by this Department."
Mr. Blaine, Sec. of State, to Mr. Bingham, M. C., Jan. 11, 1890, 176 MS.
Dom. Let. 86.
Complaints having been made by Siegfried Koenigsberger, a naturalized citizen of the United States, of the confiscation by Guatemalan authorities of silver belonging to him to the amount of $2,300, the Department of State held that there was no ground for intervention, it appearing that Koenigsberger was attempting to export the silver in violation of Guatemalan law.
For. Rel. 1901, 252-260.
By the treaty of commerce and navigation with Great Britain,
concluded at London July 3, 1815," it was for the Discriminating
first time agreed that no higher or other duties or duties.
charges should be imposed in any of the ports of the United States on vessels of another power than those payable in the same ports by vessels of the United States; that the same duties should be paid on the importation into the United States of any articles the growth, produce, or manufacture of a foreign power, whether such importation should be made in vessels of the United States or in vessels of that power, and that in all cases where drawbacks were or might be allowed upon the reexportation of any goods the growth, produce, or manufacture of either country respectively, the amount of the drawback should be the same, whether the goods should have been imported in American vessels or in vessels of the foreign power. How frequently these principles have since been recognized in treaties of the United States, an examination of the index following these notes will show."
Treaties and Conventions between the United States and Other Powers,
1776-1887, Mr. Bancroft Davis' Notes, 1224.
“ There is indeed a principle of still more expansive liberality which may be assumed as the basis of commercial intercourse between nation and nation; it is that of placing the foreigner in regard to all objects of navigation and commerce upon a footing of equal favor with the native citizen, and to that end of abolishing all discriminating duties and charges whatever. This principle is altogether congenial to the spirit of our institutions, and the main obstacle to its adoption consists in this: that the fairness of its operation depends upon its being admitted universally. For while two maritime and commercial nations should bind themselves to it, as a compact, operative only between them, a third power might avail itself of its own restrictive and discriminating regulations to secure advantages to its own people at the expense of both the parties to the treaty. The United States have nevertheless made considerable advances in their proposals to other nations towards the general establishment of this most liberal of all principles of commercial intercourse."
Mr. Adams, Sec. of State, to Mr. Anderson, min. to Colombia, May 27,
1823, MS. Inst. U. States Ministers, IX. 274, 290.
By the act of May 24, 1828, the President, on satisfactory evidence given by the government of any foreign nation that "no discriminating duties of tonnage or impost” were levied in the ports of such nation on vessels wholly belonging to citizens of the United States, or on the produce, manufactures, or merchandise imported in such vessels from the United States or from any foreign country, was authorized to issue his proclamation declaring that the foreign discriminating duties of tonnage and impost within the United States were suspended as to the vessels of such foreign nation and the produce, manufactures, or merchandise therein imported into the United States from such foreign nation or from any other foreign country, such suspension to continue so long as the reciprocal exemption from duties should last.
Act of May 24, 1828, 4 Stat. 308; embodied in Rev. Stat. of the U. S.
8 4228. The reciprocity on which this statute is based has been established or
confirmed by various treaties. See Moore's American Diplomacy,
105-130. For proclamations suspending discriminating duties, see Richardson's
Messages and Papers of the Presidents, X. Index, 64.