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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 79

on the 11th of January last, and in which you advised me of the grounds upon
which the claim of the Conipagnie Gén~rale Beige des Philippines for
the restitution of a fine imposed on the owners of the steamer Belgika was
 My Government, after a perusal of that document, has no idea of contesting
the strict right of the authorities of the United States to impose a fine
on the steamer Belgika, hut it dire~ts me to point out to your excellency
the many circumstances that make for the Belgian society. In the contract
it had entered into with the firm Mendoza & Co. there was a formal clause
inhibiting the said charteret's from infringing in anyway the provisions
of law governing the coastwise trade in the Philippines. It did not participmtte,
whether directly or indirectly, in the offense comnniitted by Mendoza &
Co. by means of the Belgika, but the bankruptcy of the said firiii puts the
Belgian society under a severe hardship, since its legal reniedies in the
case are now rendered worthless. 
 My Government therefore hopes that the Government of the United States will
kindly take into consideration the circunistances which place on innocent
parties the penalty incurred by others, and that it will consent, in a spirit
of equity, to reduce appreciably the amount of the heavy fine of ~30,000
Mexican, which is a severe burden on the company. 
 Remissions of this kind are frequently granted by Governments when they
are, as in this case, satisfied of the claimants' good faith. 
 By thus graciously conceding a similar favor to our fellow-countrymen, the
Government of time United States would prevent an unmented loss from compromising
the outset of an enterprise worthy of being encouraged, and will secure the
gratefulness of honorable men who intend to comply under all circumstances
with the laws and regulations of the country. 
 Ever since the occurrence which occasioned the fine, the Belgian company
has maintained excellent relations with the American authorities in the Philippines,
and has constantly striven to render every service that they wished for.
 Its steamers have very frequently been used for the transportation of troops
and army supplies; more thami once have they gone out of their regular course
for that purpose. They have repeatedly declined to take cargo of private
persons in order to give entire satisfaction to the American authorities.
 The minister for foreign affairs at Brussels, in sending mc the foregoing
communication, adds that the favorable reception of the request I am instructed
to lay before your excellency, and to which he attaches great importance,
would be taken as a flattering token of the good will of the United States
toward our fellow-countrymen. 
I eagerly embrace this opportunity, etc., 
lift. ifay to Baron h1~ncheur. 
 Washington, April 28, 1902. 
 SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 8th
instant, relating further to the representation of your Government that the
fine imposed upon the steamship Bet ,qika, of the Compagnie 

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