The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Cuba (Crowder)
Sir: The Department has taken up with the British Government the matter of obtaining, through American consular officers, information from British collectors of customs concerning ships clearing from ports of Great Britain carrying cargoes of liquor consigned to places from which it might be smuggled into the United States.91 The Treasury Department has stated that it would “welcome reciprocal arrangements with other nations for the exchange of information regarding clearances of vessels, cargoes carried, and consignors and consignees of such cargoes when such information is desired by the government seeking the same as an aid to the enforcement of its own laws”.
The American Ambassador at London has been instructed to advise the British Foreign Office of the readiness of the Government of the United States to exchange information of this character and to express the hope that the British Government would find it possible to enter into a reciprocal arrangement of this character.
The Department encloses a copy of a despatch92 received from the Ambassador at London from which it appears that a statement [Page 256] was made in the British House of Commons on behalf of the Government that it was believed that “action by His Majesty’s Government alone would merely drive the trade into other channels”. It is believed that this statement may have been based upon the view that if the British Government furnished American officials information concerning the exportation of liquor which it appeared might be smuggled into the United States, it would result in driving the trade to Cuba and other places adjacent to the coast of the United States from which smuggling operations might be conducted.
You are instructed to address a communication to the Foreign Office setting forth the readiness of the United States to exchange information with the Cuban Government regarding clearances of vessels leaving ports of the United States, the cargoes carried, and the names of the consignors and consignees of such cargoes when such information is desired by the Cuban Government as an aid to the enforcement of its own laws, if the Cuban Government will furnish similar information to officers of the United States.
You are requested to forward to the Department promptly a report concerning the matter, enclosing a copy of your communication to the Cuban Foreign Office dealing with this matter, and you will use your best endeavors to bring about a favorable response.
I am [etc.]