The Acting Secretary of State to the British Chargé (Chilton)

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my note dated August 16, 1923,76 replying to your note No. 670, dated August 9, 1923, concerning the difficulties arising in connection with the importation of liquor into Yukon Territory through Skagway, Alaska. You stated that the [Page 233] reason for these difficulties appeared to be that the authorities of this Government consider, under the recent Supreme Court decision in the case of The Cunard Steamship Company, Ltd., v. Andrew W. Mellon et al, that the transportation of liquor across any territory of the United States is prohibited. You also stated that in the view of the Government of the Dominion of Canada liquor shipments for the territory of the Yukon Government cannot be considered to be analogous either to in-transit shipments across American territory from Canada to Mexico or to liquor on board a vessel intended for consumption thereon. You state that shipments of liquor for Yukon Territory appear rather to imply a question of principle similar to that of shipments of liquor through the Panama Canal, which latter were by Congress specially exempted from the operation of the prohibition laws of this country.

A communication has now been received from the appropriate authority of this Government which states that several months ago Hon. George P. MacKenzie, Commissioner of Yukon Territory, called in person and expressed a desire for permission to transport liquors from Skagway, Alaska, across American territory into Yukon Territory. After full inquiry and lengthy consideration, it was decided, particularly in view of the decision of the U. S. Supreme Court in the case of Cunard Steamship Company, Ltd., v. Mellon, that there was no authority of law for granting such permission, and it was, therefore, refused.

It is believed that the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States in the cases of Grogan v. Walker, 259 U.S. 80, and Cunard Steamship Company, Ltd., v. Mellon, 14 Advance Opinions 552, support the conclusion reached.

Accept [etc.]

William Phillips
  1. Not printed.