Belgian-American Diplomacy - Convention for the Extinguishment of the Scheldt Dues: July 20, 1863
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Concluded July 20, 1863;
Ratification advised by the Senate February 26, 1864;
Ratified by the President March 5, 1864;
Ratifications exchanged June 24, 1864;
Proclaimed November 18, 1864.

The United States of America and His Majesty the King of the Belgians. equally desirous of liberating forever the navigation of the Scheldt(1) from, the dues which encumber it, to assure the reformation of the maritime taxes levied in Belgium, and to facilitate thereby the development of trade and navigation, have resolved to conclude a treaty to complete the convention signed on the 20th of May, 1863, between the United States and Belgium, and have appointed as their Plenipotentiaries, namely:

The President of the United States of America, Henry Shelton Sanford, a citizen of the United States, their Minister Resident to His Majesty the King of the Belgians; and His Majesty the King of the Belgians, Mr. Charles Rogier, Grand Officer of the Order of Leopold, decorated with the Iron Cross, &c., &c., &c., his Minister of Foreign Affairs;

Who after having exchanged their full powers, found to be in good and due form, have agreed upon the following articles:


The high contracting parties take note of, and record:

1st. The treaty concluded on the twelfth of May, eighteen hundred and sixty-three, between Belgium and the Netherlands, which will remain annexed to the present treaty, and by which his Majesty the, King of the Netherlands renounces forever the dues established upon navigation in the Scheldt and its months, by the third paragraph of the ninth article of the treaty of the nineteenth of April, eighteen hundred and thirty-nine, and His Majesty the King of the Belgians engages to pay the capital sum of the redemption of those dues, which amount to 17,141,640 florins.

2d. The declaration made in the name of His Majesty the King of the Netherlands on the fifteenth of July, eighteen hundred and sixty-three, to the plenipotentiaries of the high contracting parties, that the extinguishment of the Scheldt dues, consented to by his said Majesty, applies to all flags; that these dues can never be re-established under any form whatsoever; and that this suppression shall not affect in any manner the other provisions of the treaty of the nineteenth of April, eighteen hundred and thirty-nine, which declaration shall be considered inserted in the present treaty, to which it shall remain also annexed.



His Majesty the King of the Belgians makes, for what concerns him, the same declaration as to that which is mentioned in the second paragraph of the preceding article.


It is well understood that the tonnage dues suppressed in Belgium, in conformity with the convention of the twentieth of May, eighteen hundred sixty-three, cannot be re-established, and that the pilotage dues and local taxes reduced under the same convention cannot be again increased.

The tariff of pilotage dues and of local taxes at Antwerp, shall be the same for the United States as those which are set down in the protocols of the conference at Brussels.


In regard to the proportion of the United States in the capital sum of the extinguishment of the Scheldt dues, and the manner, place and time of the payment thereof, reference is made by the high contracti11g parties to the convention of the twentieth May, eighteen hundred and sixty-three.


The execution of the reciprocal engagements contained in the present treaty is made subordinate, in so far as is necessary, to the formalities and rules established by the constitutional laws of the high contracting parties.


It is well understood, that the provisions of Article III. will only be obligatory with respect to the State which has taken part in, or those which shall adhere to, the treaty of this day, the King of the Belgians reserving to himself expressly the right to establish the manner of treatment as to fiscal and customs regulations of vessels belonging to States which shall not be parties to this treaty.


The present treaty shall be ratified, and the ratifications thereof shall be exchanged at Brussels with the least possible delay.

In faith whereof the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed the same in duplicate, and affixed thereto their seals.

Done at Brussels, the twentieth day of July, eighteen hundred and sixty-three.


(1) A river that originates in northern France and flows through Belgium and the Netherlands on it way to the North Sea. (Note added by the Avalon Project). Back

Treaties, Conventions, International Acts and Agreements Between the United States of America and Other Powers 1776-1909.
Compiled by William M. Malloy
Under Resolution of the Senate of January 18, 1909
Washington : Government Printing Office, 1910.
127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511.