The Panaman Minister ( Alfaro ) to the Secretary of State


Mr. Secretary: I have the honor to refer to Your Excellency’s courteous communication dated the 3d of May last and to the note [Page 160] verbale from this Legation of the 5th of the same month,20 relative to the application of the Volstead Act to foreign merchant vessels while they are in territorial waters of the United States. The Government of Panama has taken careful note of the notice given by the Department of the Treasury which Your Excellency quotes in the aforesaid note and has instructed me to say to the Department of State that the Panaman Government cannot regard as a violation of the Volstead Act and of the 18th Amendment of the Constitution the carrying of wines, liquors and fermented beverages by vessels navigating territorial waters of the United States under the Panaman flag, provided that such wines, liquors or fermented beverages be not offered for sale or public consumption and be kept under lock and key while they are in territorial waters, subject only to the exceptions of the said law and amendment as to their medicinal or sacramental use. At the same time it has instructed me to say, as I now respectfully do through this note, that Panama protests against the application of the national prohibition law in the form stated and to ask in the most earnest manner of the Government of Your Excellency that it will kindly reconsider the matter and take measures that will insure the operation of the law without causing injury to foreign merchant vessels.

The Government of Panama declares in conclusion that it is most willing to cooperate with the Government of the United States for the purpose of insuring the operation of the national prohibition law, in so far as executive orders which the Panaman Government is in position to enforce upon the owners, officers and sailors of national vessels may contribute to such a result.

I avail myself [etc.]

R. J. Alfaro
  1. Not found in Department files.