File No. 300.115/4215
The Ambassador in Great Britain (Page) to the Secretary of State
[Received July 14.]
Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith for the information of the Department, respectfully referring to my despatch No. 1678 of June 25,2 in regard to the decision of Sir Samuel Evans, president of the prize court, in the case of 400 tons of copper on board the S. S. Zamora, the reasons given for this decision, as published in Lloyd’s List on Wednesday June 23.
The judgment of the president points out what may be considered a departure from the heretofore recognized procedure of prize courts, in that he considers that municipal law, as set forth in a Royal order in council, may be quoted by a prize court as a basis for a decision, and this opinion would seem to place in the prize court of a country the right to determine whether or not municipal law [Page 470] should be followed, even in cases when it might appear to be at variance with the recognized principles of the law of nations. He supports his decision by quoting numerous cases, particularly those in prize courts in the United States.
The final paragraph of the president’s judgment reads as follows, and would appear to be a forecast of the attitude which the British prize court will take in the future:
For the reasons, historical and other, which I have endeavoured to set forth, I am of opinion that nothing contained in the provisions of Order XXIX of the prize court rules is repugnant to international law; and that the powers entrusted to and to be exercised by the court under the order are in accordance with the inherent powers of the court itself and are well within the rights of the Crown under the statutory provisions referred to, no less than under its prerogative authority.
I further have the honor to enclose herewith a comment on the Zamora decision which was written by Mr. Arthur Garfield Hays, who has been acting as attorney for the Green Commission Company in the case of the S. S. Wilhelmina , and for several other American corporations. This statement, which Mr. Hays informs me he has written at the request of the Associated Press, may be of interest to the Department in this connection.
I have [etc.]
- Not printed.↩