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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 691


                               GREAT BRITAIN.                           
    691
ber28, on the understanding that meanwhile the delegates should acquaint
themselves
with the memoranda contained in the papers to which I have already referred.
  At the second meeting of the conference the questions at issue were seriously
broached, as will be seen by the minutes (inclosure A, pp. 34-40), in which
the posi-
tions assumed by the delegates of each country are fully set forth. Upon
the sugges-
tion of M. Kamensky, of Russia, the representatives of the powers were requested
to
state in turn the views of their respective Governments, and-especially,
whether and
to what extent the latter favor the exportation of sugar by granting direct
or indi-
rect bounties, and whether they really desire to abolish the same.
  From the statements made in reply to this suggestion, which are given so
fully in
  the minutes that I deem any description of them other than a brief summary
un-
  necessary, it appeared that the recent legislation of Austria-Hungary and
that of
  Germany tend to the abolition of bounties; that France, while compelled
in self de-
fense to give very high bounties to her exporters, earnestly hopes that by
their abo-
lition elsewhere she may be enabled to do away with them; that in Russia
they had
already been abolished, save on the Asiatic frontier (where they would also
cease to
exist in 1891); that Spain practically gives no bounties; and that Holland,
Belgium,
Italy, Sweden, and Denmark would cheerfully join in their abolition with
the other
powers.
   In the course of their statements a variety of interesting statistics
were gone into
by the delegates, the accuracy of some of the figures quoted and the conclusions
of
certain members of the conference based thereupon being occasionally called
in ques-
tion by others.
  The discussion was continued at the third meeting of the conference, which
took
place on Wednesday, November 30, and it soon became evident that the delegates,
while apparently agreed upon the principle of abolishing bounties, were far
from
unanimous as to the means of attaining that end. The majority appeared to
favor the
proposal of a tax in each country upon the quantity of sugar produced and
intended
for consumption therein, the raw material being admitted free of duty, and
all ne-
cessity for a drawback being thereby obviated. But the Belgian delegates,
under in-
structions from their Government, objected strongly to this system, giving
as reasons
that (1) no uniform method for abolishing bounties would be, in their opinion,
possi-
ble, owing to the difference between the fiscal systems and the customs of
the trade
of different countries; and (2) that a system of refining and manufacturing
in bond
would be out of the question in Belgium (where it had been tried for a short
time),
owing to the unpopularity and to the expense to the state of the strict excise
super-
vision which would become necessary, and would be injurious to the trade.
   It was eventually decided to appoint a committee to consider the different
propo-
sals, and to recommend the best means to be adopted for the abolition of
the bounties.
  In this connection, M. Sans-Leroy, who represented French interests with
marked
  ability at the conference, raised the questiion of saccharometry, stating
that in his
  opinion the exact saccharine value of the product to be taxed ┬žunder
the system to
  which I have just referred) should be determined before the appointment
of a com-
mittee to consider and recolnmend a general system of taxation; but after
some dis-
cussion this question was referred to the committee, which was composed of
the
Comte do Kuefstein (Austria-Hungary), Messrs. Jaehnigen (Germany), Guillaume
(Bel-
gium), Sans-Leroy (France), Verkerk Pistorius (Holland), and Walpole (Great
Britain).
  The conference then adjourned until the committee should be in a position
to re-
  port.
  'On Monday, December 12, the conference, at which, as already stated, I
was pres-
  ent that day for the first time, held its fourth sitting to receive the
report of the coni-
  mittee (inclosure A, p. 51), which recommends:
  (1) A system of taxation based upon the quantities of sugar produced and
ready
  for consumption, including glucose and sugar extracted from molasses, as
the sole
  means of abolishing bounties. (Belgium, while assenting to the principle
of the abo-
  lition of bounties, makes formal reservations in a second paragraph of
this clause
  with regard to the method suggested by the other members of the committee.)
(2) That the extent to which sacebarometry shall be used in the proposed
system
of taxation upon the quantities of sugar produced be referred to each Government.
Uniformity of method in its use is suggested as desirable.
  (3) That the different Governments communicate to each other their respective
  views upon the aforesaid suggestions tefore March 1, and if favorable to
the same,
that they be requested to formulate and transmit to each other a project
for the tax-
ation of quantities of sugar produced, which project should state the extent
to which
saceharometry should be employed.
  The report of the committee led to a protracted discussion; most of the
delegates
being in favor of itis adoption, save as respects the clause affecting Belgium.
The
senior Bcigian delegate repeated the objections of his Government to a system
of re-
lining aud manufacturing in bond, andi then proceeded to explain the concessions


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