The Norwegian Chargé ( Steen ) to the Secretary of State
Mr. Secretary of State: With reference to the regulations adopted by the United States Government declaring it unlawful for foreign vessels to bring within the United States’ territorial waters any liquors for beverage purposes I have the honour, acting under instructions from my Government, to inform Your Excellency that the Norwegian Government, without seeing occasion to express its opinion as to the right of the United States to exercise jurisdiction on board foreign vessels entering American territorial waters, wishes to point out that in the opinion of the Norwegian Government the regulations concerned seem to constitute a breach with former common practice which until now has regulated the international intercourse viz. that a country should not attempt to exercise jurisdiction on board foreign vessels within its territorial waters except to restrain acts calculated to disturb public order.
My Government further wishes to point out the grave consequences which this abandon[ment] of the existing comity and practice will create for the shipping all over the world and the serious inconveniences for the intercourse between countries with conflicting national laws, and therefore expresses the desirability of these regulations not being put into force before the question can be discussed between the Government of the United States and the other Maritime Powers, including Norway.
I beg to add that my Government takes it for granted that the regulations concerned do not include liquors which the ships only carry for medicinal purposes according to Norwegian laws now in force which prescribes for each ship four bottles of spirits and four bottles of wine.
I avail [etc.]