The Secretary of State to the Belgian Ambassador (de Cartier)6

Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note dated May 28, 1923, in which you expressed the views of your Government with respect to the operation of the National Prohibition [Page 146] Act as interpreted by the recent decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of the Cunard Steamship Company, Limited, versus Mellon et al.

You will, of course, understand that this Government cannot well discuss the legality, in an international sense, of the operation of an Act of Congress the scope of which, within the territorial limits of the United States, has been authoritatively determined by the Supreme Court of the United States. While, therefore, I am not indisposed to consider in a friendly spirit views such as those expressed in your note with respect to the operation of the Act upon the vessels of foreign governments I could not accept any suggestion questioning the competency of the Congress to enact the legislation to which you refer.

As the question is one of the exercise of legislative discretion I assume that the operation of the National Prohibition Act will receive the attention of the Congress when it next convenes and that all pertinent matters will have the most careful consideration.

Accept [etc.]

Charles E. Hughes
  1. The same, mutatis mutandis, to the Netherland Minister and to the Norwegian Chargé.