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United States Department of State / Index to the executive documents of the House of Representatives for the second session of the fiftieth Congress, 1888-'90
(1888-1889)

Great Britain,   pp. 685-828 PDF (61.2 MB)


Page 685


                          GREAT BRITAIN
                                  No. 498.
                         Mr. Phelps to Mr. Bayard.
No. 625.1                     LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
                London, November 19, 1887. (Received November 29.)
   SIR: Referring to your circular instruction of July 9 with reference
to the amendment of the laws relating to shipping, I have the honor to
acquaint you that I lost no time in forwarding a copy of the same to
Her Majesty's Government and in inviting their co-operation in the
matter. The Marquis of Salisbury~s reply to my communication has
just reached me, and I inclose herewith a copy of the same.
        I have, etc.,                                       E. J. PHELPS.
                               [Inclosure in No. 625.]
                      The Marquis of Sali8bury to Mr. Phelps.
                                           FOREIGN OFFICE, November 17, 1887.
   Sim: I lost no time in referring to the board of trade your letter of
August 15, in-
 viting the co-operation of Her Majesty's-Government with that of the United
States
 with a view to lightening the burdens on shipping and amending the laws-relating
 to shipping, etc., and also asking for information as to whether any, and,
if so, what
 discrimination exists in this country against vessels of the United States
as compared
 with British vessels or the vessels of any other country.
   1 have now the honor to state to you that I am informed by the board of
trade that
 there are no such discriminating duties on United States vessels as compared
with
 British vessels in ports of the United Kingdom. Such indeed would be contrary
to
 the convention of commerce between this country and the United States of
July 3,
 1815, clause ii of which stipulates that "no higher or other duties
or charges shall
 be imposed in any of the ports of the United Stategon British vessels than
those pay-
 able in the same ports by vessels of the United States, nor in the ports
of His Bri-
 tannic Majesty's territories in Europe on the vessels of the United States
than shall
 be payable in the same ports on British vessels."
   This stipulation, so far as the United Kingdom is concerned, was carried
into effect
 by the Act 59, George III, chapter 54, clause viii.
   It is, moreover, the general and long-established policy of the United
Kingdom,
 apart from treaties, not to impose discriminating duties of any kind, whether
on
 ships or cargoes; and even the coasting trade of the United Kingdom is freely
open
 to vessels of the United States as to other foreign vessels, although the
United States
 does not admit British vessels to reciprocal privileges in her coasting
trade.
   As regards the request of the United States Government for co-operation
in reduc-
 ing or lightening light-house or tonnage dues on shipping between the ports
of the
 British Empire and those of the United States, I am informed by the board
of trade
 that the whole subject of light-house dues in the United Kingdom is being
inquired
 into, with the view of ascertaining whether any revision or re-adjustment
of those
 dues can be made, but not with any intention on the part of Her Majesty's
Govern-
 ment to abolish them.
   The board of trade are also making inquiries as to whether there are any
ports in
 the-United Kingdom where the light-house dues in the trade with the United
States
 are lower than the tonnage dues now leviable in the United States, so that,
as regards
 these ports, British vessels would be entitled to the reciprocal treatment
promised
 in the circular which accompanied your note; and as soon as I shall have
heard the
 result of those inquiries, I shall have the honor of addressing a further
communica-
 tion to you.
       I have, etc.,                                               SALISBURY.
                                                                       685


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