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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government


The New York Times
December 14, 1909

Army Refuses State $2 Fee for Gen. Wood's License Number.

ALBANY, N. Y., Dec. 13.—The United States Army has refused point blank to pay the State of New York $2 for an automobile license on the ground that property of the United States cannot be taxed.

Some time ago Secretary of State Koenig received an application for a license number and badge for an automobile used by Major Gen. Leonard Wood, commanding the Department of the East.  No. 75,541 was assigned, but when the Secretary of State attempted to collect the license fee imposed by the state it was not forthcoming.  Secretary Koenig wrote the Federal authorities that the $2 asked for by the State for assigning an automobile number was a fee; that the State was not taxing Government property, but was simply asking to pay for something the Government had requested.

Gen. Aleshire in reply to the Secretary's letter makes it plain that the Government does not feel disposed to settle, and Secretary Koenig said to-day that the State will have to get along without the $2.

Concerning the Government use of automobiles, Gen. Aleshire's letter says:

"Great care will be taken to observe regulations as to speed, and as to rules of the road.  If, while in use on official business, a motor vehicle be stopped by a police officer, or if otherwise there be police interference by State or local authorities because of failure to make registration and pay such a special tax, the officer or employee shall give full information as to ownership and use of the vehicle and courteously request that there be no further interference.

"In case measures are then resorted to by State or local authorities to obstruct or prevent the proper use of such agencies, full report will be made at once to this office with a view of submitting the matter to the Department of Justice for such legal action as it may deem necessary to vindicate and make clear the rights of the United States in that regard."

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