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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1937. The British Commonwealth, Europe, Near East and Africa

Switzerland,   pp. 565-582 PDF (6.6 MB)

Page 577

General of Customs. He hoped that his reply would give us satisfac-
tion. I expressed my appreciation of his interest in the matter and
said that I would avail myself of his kind offer to consider extending
the period set for the validity of the passavants in the event that this
should prove to be desirable.
  Respectfully yours,                            LELAND HARRISON
  The Minister in Switzerland (Harrison) to the Secretary of State
No. 155                                  BERN, December 21, 1937.
                                       [Received January 10, 1938.]
  SIR: I have the honor to refer to the Department's instruction No. 80
of November 11, 1937, and to report the action taken in compliance
with the directions therein with regard to the four percent tax on
customs receipts levied by the Swiss Government.
  On receipt of the Department's instruction under reference, and
after careful review of the record and all available information re-
garding this matter, it appeared that no intimation with respect to
the eventual application of the tax had been given to the Legation by
the Swiss authorities other than the informal offer by Dr. Stucki to
Mr. Wilson, during their conversation at Geneva in 1936, to confirm in
writing his assurance that the tax would not be increased. Also, it
appeared that provision for the continuance of the tax had been in-
corporated in the Budget of the Confederation for 1938, which was
submitted to the Federal Assembly on October 29, 1937, and is due for
consideration and passage by the Swiss Parliament during the current
  In the absence of Dr. Stucki, I called upon Dr. Hotz, Director of
the Commercial Division of the Federal Department of Public Econ-
omy, and after referring to the correspondence on the subject, of
which he took note, I explained the Department's understanding that
the tax was due to expire at the end of this year; also its desire to be
assured that the tax would lapse at that time. In reply, Dr. Hotz
referred to the fact that the new Budget provided for continuance of
the tax in 1938. As to the duration of the tax, he could only suggest
that possibly the hope might have been expressed that with a general
vote of the people this year concerning the Government's present
emergency powers in the field of economic legislation the tax would
have been- discontinued. However, in all frankness he personally
questioned the expediency or desirability of putting such an im-
*Adopted by the Federal Assembly on December 21, 1937. The section concern-
ing the "Customs Administration" contains an item of 8,500,000
francs as the
estimated return for 1938 from the "stamp tax on customs receipts (droits
timbres 8ur les quittances de douanes)". [Footnote In the original.]

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