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United States Department of State / The executive documents of the House of Representatives for the first session of the fiftieth Congress. 1887-'88

Mexico,   pp. 668-882 PDF (104.0 MB)

Page 668

                               No. 419.
                     Mr. Bayard to Mr. Manning.
No. 19.]                         DEPARTMENT OV STA'E1
                                    Washington, November 23, 1886.
  Sil: I send herewith for your information a letter addressed to me
by Messrs. F. Alexandre & Sons, of New York, complaining Of a dis-
crimination in the form of an alleged rebate of 2 per cent. of custom
duties in favor of the importers of goods into Mexico from the United
States, by the recently established Spanish transatlantic line of steam-
  The matter had, been previously brought to the attention of the De-
partment. From what could then be learned it did not appear that a
discriminating favor of 2 per cent. rebate of duties was to be accorded to
the goods for the benefit of the importers thereof; but that the company
was to be paid a sum equivalent to 2 per cent. of the duties collectable
on the foreign goods carried in its steamers to Mexican ports, such pay-
ment being in part satisfaction of-the subsidy stipulated under its con-
tract of August 21, 1886, with the Government of Mexico. The extracts
from that contract furnished to me by Messrs. Alexandre & Sons seem
to bear out this understanding of the arrangement Indeed any other is
incompatible with the proviso of Article 9, that the company is to receive
no payment on account of customs duties unless the total duties col-
lected upon goods imported by its steamers shall amount to at least
$50,000 each trip.
  Nevertheless it is distinctly averred that there is practically a dis-
crimination of 2 per cent. in the duties collected from the importers by
that line, as appears from the letters addressed to Messrs. F. Alexan-
dre & Sons by such houses as Maitland, Phelps & Co., H. Marquardt
& Co., and M. Echeverria & Co.
  It is desired that you will ascertain the precise nature of the arrange.
ment made by Mexico with the Spanish line in respect of the 2 per
cent. of customs duties; and if it shall appear that there is, in fact, a
discrimination, and that less duties are levied and collected by the
Mexican treasury fronm the importers of the merchandise carried by the
Spanish line, you will take an early occasion to impress upon Sefior
Mariscal the unfriendly character of a ileasure which strikes directly at
the American carrying trade with Mexico.
  It is not a question of right under treaty or international law, but of'
the necessary effect of measures which, whether inimically designed or
not, are distinctly hostile in their operation to the shipping interests
the" United States. The Government of Mexico cannot fail to be aware
of the earnest desire of the United States to increase friendly and inti-
mate relationship with that Republic.
  By the provisions of the shipping acts of 1884 and 1886 marked favors
in the interest of neighborhood have been shown. For instance, all yes-

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