The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador (Geddes)

Excellency: I have the honor to state that I have received communications from the authorities of this Government stating that difficulties have been experienced in enforcing the prohibition laws of the United States along the Canadian border because small motor boats are permitted by the Canadian authorities to take on cargoes of liquor and to make a regular customs clearance to some port in the United States, thus complying with the Canadian law which prohibits the sale of liquors to persons in Canada but allows its exportation to a foreign country. Particular reference is made to the smuggling of liquor into the United States from Belleville and Corbyville, Canada. It is further stated that these boats are American [Page 229] owned. As they do not enter at an American port they do not make a customs entrance, the merchandise being landed at night and transported by automobiles to points of delivery.

As the importation of liquor into the United States without a permit is illegal, it would seem that the Canadian authorities might be disposed to decline to grant clearance papers to vessels with cargoes of liquor destined to ports in the United States, unless a permit authorizing its importation is presented. Such action would only result in the withdrawal of these facilities from persons engaged in attempts to violate the laws of the United States.

In your note No. 781 of October 13, 1922,73 you stated that His Majesty’s Government “are desirous of assisting the United States Government to the best of their ability in the suppression of the traffic”. Under the circumstances I have the honor to inquire whether the Canadian Government would be disposed to issue instructions to its collectors of customs that they should not issue clearances to vessels carrying cargoes of liquor destined to ports in the United States unless a permit authorizing such importation is presented.

Accept [etc.]

Charles E. Hughes