The Secretary of State to the Panaman Minister (Alfaro)

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note dated June 20, 1923, setting forth the views of your Government with respect to the effect upon Panaman vessels of the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States construing the National Prohibition Act in the case of the Cunard Steamship Company, Ltd., v. 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 [Page 161] 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.

I have forwarded a copy of your note to the appropriate authority of this Government, and I have invited attention to your statement that the Government of Panama 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 a position to enforce upon the owners, officers and sailors of national vessels may contribute to such a result.

I desire to express my appreciation for the offer of cooperation contained in your note, and to assure you that this matter is receiving very careful consideration by the authorities of this Government.

Accept [etc.]

Charles E. Hughes