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Veto of Bill for the Relief of Grand Lodge of North Dakota, Ancient free and Accepted Masons

June 11, 1960

[Released June 13, 1960. Dated June 11, 1960]

To the House of Representatives:

I return herewith, without my approval, H.R. 8417, "For the relief of Grand Lodge of North Dakota, Ancient free and Accepted Masons."

The bill would direct a refund to the Grand Lodge of North Dakota, Ancient free and Accepted Masons, of $1,155.26 in customs duties assessed on masonic jewels, consisting of insignia and emblems composed of metal and other material, imported from Canada. In support of the refund, it is asserted that such jewels should have been granted duty-free status under applicable law.

The entry free of duty of regalia and gems is permitted for the use of a society incorporated or established solely for religious, philosophical, educational, scientific, or literary purposes, or for the encouragement of the fine arts. The Bureau of Customs has determined, however, that fraternal organizations, such as the Grand Lodge of North Dakota, do not meet the requirements for free entry.

No reason has been advanced for granting special legislative relief in this case other than the belief that the law has been misinterpreted. If the law has been misinterpreted, however, there is no need for a special bill. General law provides procedures by which importers may challenge, administratively and in the courts, the Bureau of Customs' interpretations of the law relating to importation. The Grand Lodge has not yet availed itself of these procedures, but it still has the opportunity to do so.

The bill would, therefore, discriminate in favor of a single importer who has not taken advantage of the available remedies. Such a result would be unfair to other importers and would create an unwise and unsound precedent.

Although the enrolled bill would provide for a refund of $1,155.26, the Treasury Department has previously advised the Congress that the amount of duties due upon final liquidation of this entry will be only $375.34, and that the difference between this figure and the amount deposited at the time of entry by the Grand Lodge will be refunded administratively in any event.

In view of the foregoing, I am constrained to withhold my approval from the bill.


Note: The veto message was released in Washington.

APP Note: In the Public Papers of the Presidents series, this document is dated June 13, 1960, the date it was released. The American Presidency Project dates this document as June 11, 1960, the date the bill was vetoed.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Veto of Bill for the Relief of Grand Lodge of North Dakota, Ancient free and Accepted Masons Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/234664

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