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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, with the annual message of the president transmitted to Congress December 2, 1902

Belgium,   pp. 73-100 PDF (2.0 MB)

Page 74

 Fourth. That it is none the less a fact that upon the return of the steamer
to Manila the collector of customs, on the information given by discharged
seamen detained the Belgika and muicted the owners, not the charterers, of
the said steamer in a fine of 125,000 francs, which, thanks to the good offices
of the consul of Belgium, was subsequently reduced to 75,000 francs. 
 Fifth. That, moreover, under the Coasting Trade Regulations, promulgated
by the American (Jovertimnent under date of December 2, 1899, fines imposed
for unlawful trade iiiust be recovered through seizure of the merchandise
and not of the ship itself. 
 Sixth. That the detention of the steamer Belgi/ca for sixteen days represents
a loss of $1,000 Mexican per diemim, and completely tied up the sailing vessels
Glementia and Nueva (lelestina, which could not get out of the harbor except
in tow of the Beigika. 
 Seventh. That the charter party especially mentions in clauses Nos. 1, 3,
and 9 that the vessel was only chartered under the laws and regulations of
the American Government. 
 Eighth. That the fine of 75,000 francs had to be paid by the owners in order
to regain possession of the steamer, and that they have been unable to recover
from the charterers. 
 Ninth. That serious damage to Belgian interests results from the foregoing
facts. That it is shown on sufficient evi(lence that the owners are in no
wise at fault, and that they have besides evinced the greatest respect for
the laws and regulations established by the Governnient of the United States
wheim they held the charterers in three articles of the contract to observe
the same. 
 That the moral effect sought by the American authorities in severely punishing
an offense that had been more or less proved has beemi fully achieved, and
that by now refunding the fine to the owners, who have no delinquency to
blame themselves with, the Government of the United States would in no wise
impair its prestige, and would do itself an honor by an act of justice and
by not discouraging institutions aiming at the advancenient of the new possessions
of the United States. 
 That the damage suffered by Belgian interests is not confined to the payment
of the fine, but also includes the enforced idleness of the steamer and two
sailing vessels for a prolonged period. 
 That the reimbursement of the fine by the alleged offender, the charterer,
is extremely doubtful, and that of the loss occasioned by the said idleness,
which can be rated at nearly 50,000 francs in addition to the fine, is even
more so. 
 Under these circumstances we come to you, Mr. Minister, with the earnest
prayer that you will be pleased to use your good offices toward obtaining
through the good will of the (~overnmnent of the Umted States, the reimbursement
of the $30,000 Mexican deposited by the owners in order to have the free
use of their vessel. 
We thank you in advance, Mr. Minister, and beg you to accept the expression,
etc., MELOT, The President. 
N. BEKAERT, The 1)elegated J)irector. 
lift. hay to (~un t L'~chtervelde. 
    Wasbiington, lifareli 18, 1901. 
 Siu: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 11th
instant relative to the fine imposed upon the Compagnie G~nérale des
Philippines by the customs authorities of Manila, and to inform you that
I have sent a translation of the note, with its inclosure, to the Secretary
of War, with a request that he have the matter investigated. 
 Accept, etc., JOHN HAY. 
lift. !l7autei~ to lift. ifay. 
Xew York, October ~0, 1901. 
 Mr. SECRETAItY OF STATE: In the course of the month of March [ast Count
de Licbtervelde submitted to the consideration of youi. 

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