§ MR. OCTAVIUS V. MORGAN
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the United States Consuls in London, Liverpool, &c., have reimposed the charge of 2s. 6d. declaration fee on every invoice of goods shipped from this country to the United States, and that this charge is not collected from shippers in Germany to the United States; and, whether he will take the necessary steps to put a stop to this unequal treatment of British subjects?
§ * THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir J. FERGUSSON,) Manchester, N.E.
I explained to the hon. Member last year that the fee in question was not levied by the United States Consular officers, but that it is charged by the proper British official before whom declarations on invoices, which are required by the United States Regulations, are sworn. I also informed the hon. Member of the explanation given by the United States Government of the circumstances under which the oath was not enforced in Germany, and that Her Majesty's Government had addressed a representation on the subject to the United States Government. I regret to say that the latter Government have not yielded to those representations, which pointed out that the action complained of constituted, in the opinion of Her Majesty's Government, differential treatment in favour of Germany as against this country. I may add that, as far as Her Majesty's Government are aware, the United States Consuls in this country have not discontinued requiring the oath.
§ MR. O. V. MORGAN
Last year the United States ceased to charge this fee of 2s. 6d. on a great many imports, but this year they have reimposed it.
§ * SIR J. FERGUSSON
I have gone carefully into the matter, and as the United States' Government decline to waive their declaration, and our law does not admit of the Consul administering the oath, I fear there is nothing to be done.