The Swedish Legation to the Department of State


In the opinion of the Swedish Government, the extent to which each country should compel observance of its laws on ships of another is of primary importance in regular intercourse between nations. To judge from existing comity and practice of nations, jurisdiction should not be exercised except to restrain acts calculated to disturb public order.

The regulations proposed to be issued in accordance with the Supreme Court judgment afford an example of the kind of issue that may be raised all over the world, if existing comity and practice is abandoned. Ships of all nations pass through jurisdiction of other nations, even when not entering their ports; for example, to reach Antwerp a vessel must pass through Dutch territorial waters; to reach the Baltic through Danish and Swedish waters; to reach the Black Sea through Turkish waters.

It would appear as if certain friction would be inevitable in international voyages, if precedent now proposed were generalized and conflicting national laws were imposed by each nation on ships of other nations within its territorial jurisdiction, even though such vessels may enter ports solely for the purpose of loading or discharging part of cargoes, import of which was permitted, or for the purpose of taking on board bunkers or stores, or even for receiving orders, and, in an extreme case, even although no port was entered at all.