The Netherland Minister ( De Graeff ) to the Secretary of State
Sir: In pursuance of my note No. 1763 of the 1st instant, I have the honour, by order of my Government, to draw your attention to the fact that the National Prohibition Act as it has been construed by the Supreme Court in its opinion rendered on April 30th, prohibits foreign vessels sailing from their home ports via an United States port to ports outside the United States territory, from carrying liquor as cargo destined to the latter ports. For instance the steamers of the Netherlands West Indian Mail Steamship Company, which Company maintains a regular service via New-York to ports of the Netherlands West Indies and of Central America, usually carry beer as cargo from the Netherlands to Panama and in future they would be obliged to discontinue this traffic unless New York and other United States ports were to be eliminated from their itinerary.
The situation thus arises that an United States law places a foreign steamship company in the dilemma either to refuse liquor as cargo between the Netherlands and non-American ports or to omit New York and other United States ports from its regular service, and that therefore this company is caused to suffer considerable damage in one way or the other.
In my above mentioned note I pointed out that the Royal Government objects in principle to interference on the part of the United States Government with cargo on board of Dutch ships within United States territorial waters, if such cargo of itself does not affect the public order or safety of an American port or the peace or dignity of the country.
Thereto I may add that the Royal Government also fails to see how United States domestic legislation which can be construed so as to hamper the Netherlands in its lawful trade with other countries could be in harmony with international law and comity and it expresses the hope that the United States Government will justify my Government’s expectations that a satisfactory solution may yet be arrived at.
Please accept [etc.]