The British Chargé (Chilton) to the Secretary of State

No. 921

Sir: In view of the press report from New York published in the London papers of the 27th instant that Great Britain has accepted in principle your proposal for establishing a twelve-mile limit for the purpose of extending the right of search, I am instructed by His Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to inform you as follows.

The Imperial Conference have appointed a special committee to consider the question of prohibition and liquor smuggling through United States territorial waters. While His Majesty’s Government are in entire agreement with the United States Government as to the undesirability of any alteration of the general rule whereby territorial waters extend to three miles only from low water mark, it is hoped that on the conclusion of the Imperial Conference’s consideration of the circumstances now existing outside of United States territorial waters, His Majesty’s Government will be in a position to make a definite proposal to the United States Government generally favourable to their interest in the suppression of the liquor traffic. As a matter of fact, however, the Committee have not yet reported to the Imperial Conference; and any statements such as those which have been telegraphed from New York are both inaccurate and premature.

I have [etc.]

H. G. Chilton