The Secretary of State to the Chargé in France (Whitehouse)

Sir: Referring to the Department’s circular telegram of June 12, 1923, 3 P.M., and to its telegrams Nos. 228, 229, 232 and 235, dated June 12, 1923, 6 P.M., June 12, 1923, 7 P.M., June 15, 1923, 7 P.M.,32 and June 16, 1923, 6 P.M.,32 respectively, and to your telegram No. 300, dated June 28, 1923, noon, concerning the proposal for a treaty to be concluded between the United States and France with respect to the enforcement of prohibition on French vessels within American territorial waters and measures for stopping liquor smuggling, the Department encloses for your information a copy of an instruction, dated August 25, 1923, addressed to the American Embassy at London [Page 180] dealing with the matter.33 Copies of the notes exchanged with the British Embassy concerning the Henry L. Marshall case referred to on page seven of the enclosed instruction are forwarded herewith for your information.33a

You are instructed to forward complete information concerning the practice followed by the French and Spanish authorities under Article 8 of the Treaty of December 27, 1774, concluded between France and Spain, and referred to on page four of the enclosed instruction, whereby French and Spanish customs authorities are permitted to seize, up to a distance of two leagues from the coast, French and Spanish ships carrying forbidden goods.

You will observe that the extract from the Columbia Law Review quoted in the enclosed instruction contains the following statement regarding French laws that deal with the extent of territorial jurisdiction claimed by France:

“France admits the three-mile zone for fisheries’ control, but her customs and quarantine zone extends two myriameters (about twelve miles). She regulates the admission and sojourn of foreign vessels in war time within six miles and adopts a similar boundary for the enforcement of her neutrality laws.”

The foot-note cites the following authorities in support of this statement:

“See Crocker, op. cit., p. 527; 18 Hertslet, Commercial Treaties (1893) 393.

“13 Béquet, Répertoire du Droit Administratif (1896) 409–410; Crocker, op. cit., p. 523; Racouillat, Des Diverses Utilisations des Eaux Territorials Neutres (1907) 38.

“See Journal officiel de la République Française, June 14, 1913, 5097 in Crocker, op. cit., p. 531. The limit was increased from three miles. Naval War College Topics, op. cit. (1914) p. 52.

“See J. A. Hall, The Law of Naval Warfare (1921) 129.”

You will submit a report stating whether the French authorities cited support the statement in the text. You will also set forth any additional French laws, treaties, agreements or regulations that you consider of interest in this relation.

Reference is made to the following extract from the speech of Lord Curzon in the House of Lords on June 28, 1923, regarding instructions sent to the British Ambassador at Washington:

“At the same time we instructed our Ambassador to place himself in communication with his French, Spanish, Italian, Danish, Dutch, Swedish, and Norwegian colleagues, with a view to ascertaining what action they were taking. Although it was not found possible to [Page 181] arrange for concerted representations—some of the other nations, notably the French, having already lodged a protest on their own account, on grounds similar to those advanced by us—all the Governments mentioned have since made representations.”

You are instructed to submit a report setting forth any information concerning the views held by French officials on this subject which may come to your knowledge.

Similar instructions have been addressed to the American Embassies at Rome, Madrid, Brussels, and the American Legations at Stockholm, Christiania, Copenhagen, the Hague and Lisbon, as protests have been received from these Governments.

I am [etc.]

Charles E. Hughes
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Supra.
  4. Ante, pp. 163 and 165.