The Department of State to the Swedish Legation7

The Department of State has received the memorandum dated May 31, 1923, from the Legation of Sweden expressing the views of the Swedish Government with respect to the operation of the National Prohibition Act as interpreted by the recent decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of the Cunard Steamship Company, Ltd., v. Mellon et al.

The Legation of Sweden will understand that the United States 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, the Department of State is not indisposed to give consideration in a friendly spirit to views such as those expressed in the memorandum of the Legation of Sweden with respect to the operation of the Act upon vessels of foreign governments, the Department could not accept any suggestion questioning the competency of the Congress to enact such legislation.

As the question is one of the exercise of legislative discretion, it is assumed that the operation of the National Prohibition Act will [Page 147] receive the attention of the Congress when it next convenes, and that all pertinent matters will have the most careful consideration.

  1. The same, mutatis mutandis, to the Italian Embassy and to the Portuguese Legation.