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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 693


                               GREAT BRITAIN.                           
   693
  The protocol, of which I inclose an original copy (inclosure C) herewith
(it is also
to be found in inclosure A, p. 63), was signed by the delegates of all the
poweri of-
ficially represented at the conference, it being understood that Belgium
made express
reservations as to the last paragraph, relative to Article III of the "1projet
de con-
vention," which formally records the reservations made by the French,
Austro-Hun-
garian, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, and Russian delegates as to the
Belgiau
proposals.
  I transmit herewith a translation of the protocol and "projet de convention"
(inclosure D).
  After the signature of the protocol a letter was read by the president
from Lord
Salisbury (inclosure A, p. 64) congratulating the members of the conference
upon
the successful issue of their labors; which were then brought to a close
by Baron
Henry de Worms in a speech summarizing the results that had been accomplished,
and thanking the delegates for their co-operation. To this the vice-president
and M.
Sans Leroy, of France, replied. The conference then adjourned to Thursday,
April 5,
next.
  It was undoubtedly successful in its results, beyond the expectation of
those who
took part in it; and I ought to add that, in my opinion, this was largely
due to the
ability and tact of the president, Baron Henry de Worms; although, of course,
his serv-
ices would have been of no avail, had not the Governments represented been
anxious
to do away with bounties if possible.
  It is scarcely necessary for me to call attention to the fact that by signing
the pro-
tocol on the 19th instant the delegates are only bound to submit to their
respective
-Governments the "projet de convention," and that the latter will
only become bind-
ing upon its ratification, which is expected to take place in April next.
   Of course, it is quite possible that the convention may not be ratified,
but I infer
 from what I heard at the conference, and from frequent conversations with
the lead-
 ing delegates, who were in constant telegraphic communication with their
Govern-
 ments, that a sugar union will be formed next year, having for its basis
the abolition
 of export bounties.
 Belgium can hardly afford to be excluded from such aunion, if the other
powers rep-
 resented at the conference unite in forming it; it will certainly not be
admitted on the
 terms proposed by the Belgian delegates. It is therefore probable that these
pro-
 posals will be modified in such a manner as to furnish the guaranties required
by the
 other powers.
   I have already. stated that a very earnest desire was evinced at the conference
that
 the United States should become a party to the proposed sugar union and
should sign
 the convention in April next.
   I do not conceive it to be a part of my duty to express an opinion as
to the pro-
 priety of our adopting such a course or otherwise; but I observe that the
Secretary
 of the Treasury, in his report to Congress on the state of the finances
for this year
 (page xviii) recommends that "1our drawback laws be so framed as to
insure the pay-
 ment of no more than the amounts actually collected in duties (i. e., that
bounties be
 abolished)."
   It may be well, however, to point out in this connection-
   First. That under Article IV any Government may become a party to the'convention
 without necessarily adopting the principle of refining and manufacturing
in bond,
 by undertaking to impose no duties on sugars or not to allow any drawback
or re-
 imbursement of duties upon imported sugars.
   Second. That, by joining the proposed sugar union, a nation will not,
according to
 present indications, be compelled to forego the right to protect its home
market by
 import duties to any extent that it may consider advantageous.
   Third. That should a Government not deem it advisable to join the union
at the
 time of its formation it may do so hereafter, under Article VII of the convention,
by
 notifying the British Government.
   Fourth. That sugar imported into the union from bounty-giving countries
will, in
 all probability, be subjected, should the penal clause previously mentioned
be inserted
 in the convention, to a duty whereby any advantages derived from such bounties
will
 be annulled.
   I have delayed sending this report for a few days in the hope of obtaining
an English
 translation of inclosure A; but I am informed that this will only be ready
for the
 opening of Parliament in February.
   I should have been happy to translate it myself had the clerical assistance
allowed
 to this legation been adequate; but it would have been impossible, under
the circum-
 stances, for me to undertake any such work, consistently with my other duties,
with-
 ont greatly retarding the transmission of this report. As soon as a translation
can te
 obtained it shall be forwarded to you.
   It is understood that Her Majesty's Government will communicate to all
the others
 who have participated in the conference, through the usual diplomatic channels,
any
 expression of the views of the powers with respect to the principles adopted
by the


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