The Netherlands Minister (De Graeff) to the Secretary of State

No. 1595

The Minister of The Netherlands presents his compliments to the Honorable, the Secretary of State and acting upon instructions received from the Minister for Foreign Affairs in The Hague, has the honor to inform him, that the Royal Government having taken cognizance of the draft of a convention to regulate the traffic of alcoholic beverages, proposed to Her by the United States Government, suggests the following modifications in the text of that document.

1. The Royal Government proposes to insert in the first paragraph of the Article 2 the words: “hovering off the coasts of the United States” after the word: “flag”, so as to read this paragraph as it was originally drawn up in the draft treaty submitted to the Royal Government by the American Minister at The Hague in November [Page 201] 1923. By the insertion of these words the right of boarding, etc. will be limited to those cases whereto the treaty in fact pertains and will not be extended to regular mail steamers in normal course, which if necessary can be examined after their arrival within American territorial waters.

2. The wording of the third paragraph of the Article 2 seeming complicated and apt to give rise to controversies the Royal Government recommends the substitution in the paragraph’s first sentence of the words: “at a distance greater than 12 geographical miles (each 1/60 equatorial degree) from the coast of the United States, its territories or possessions” for the words: “at a greater distance from the coast of the United States, its territories or possessions than can be traversed in an hour by the vessel suspected of endeavoring to commit the offense”, and the striking out of the paragraph’s second sentence.

In case the United States Government should not be able to agree with this modification, it seems at any rate desirable to add a clause to this article, stipulating that the rights conferred by it can never he exercised at a distance greater than 12 geographical miles from the coast of the United States, its territories or possessions.

3. It seems further desirable to make an exception on the stipulation in Article 3 prohibiting the unloading of liquor within the United States, in so far that unloading for transhipment in another Netherland vessel may be possible. The addition to the end of the article 3 of the words: “unloading for transhipment in another Netherland vessel is allowed” is therefore proposed.

It be moreover well understood that by “seastores” not only the liquor destined for the use of the crew and the passengers is meant but also the provisions for medical purposes.

4. The Royal Government agrees with the provisions of the first part of the Article 4, ruling that claims for compensation will be referred to the joint consideration of two persons nominated for the purpose and that in case no joint report can be agreed upon, these claims shall be submitted to the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The arrangement however prescribed in the second part of this article seems hardly to be acceptable. The latter part of this article is evidently taken from the “special agreement for the submitting to arbitration of pecuniary claims outstanding between Great Britain and the United States” of August 18, 1910.67 This agreement existing between the Union and the United Kingdom, it is a matter of course that the claims arising eventually from any new agreement concluded between these two Powers be submitted to the same special procedure. As, however, no such a special [Page 202] agreement exists between the United States and The Netherlands it will be difficult to the Royal Government to accept the special arrangement, mentioned in the second part of the Article 4, the more so as this arrangement greatly differs from the way generally adopted for settling claims by arbitration and as it does not harmonize with the system adopted in other treaties concluded by the Netherlands. The Royal Government suggests therefore to replace the last part of this article beginning with the words: “All sums of money etc. … [”] by the sentence: “Each Government shall bear its own expenses and half of the expenses of the tribunal”. So the stipulation shall be in harmony with the tenor of the article 57 of the Convention of 1899 (Art. 85 of the Convention of 1907),68 which article is declared applicable by the Arbitration Convention, concluded between the United States and The Netherlands.69 It does further seem unnecessary to exclude the applicability of the articles 53 and 54 of the Convention of 1907. In case the High Contracting Parties might not succeed in agreeing upon a compromise, it is not clear why a solution should not be found in the way prescribed by the aforesaid articles.

5. To the opinion of the Royal Government the meaning of the second and subsequent paragraphs of the Article 5 does not seem very clear. According to the letter of these paragraphs a simple denunciation of the convention by one party is not allowed; in case such party wishes to terminate the convention the only way for her is to propose a modification unacceptable for the other party. On the other side each proposed but not accepted modification automatically does terminate the whole convention even in case such modification may not be of such a nature that the party which made the proposal wishes such consequence. It being obvious that this would not be in accordance with the intentions of the United States Government the Royal Government proposes to read these paragraphs as follows: “If neither of the High Contracting Parties has given notice three months before the expiration of the said period of its intention to terminate the treaty, it shall be deemed to be renewed for a further period of a year and so on automatically, each party being free to terminate it by giving notice at least three months before the expiration of each period. If either of the High Contracting Parties has given notice of its desire to terminate the treaty it shall lapse at the end of that period”.

6. The Royal Government recommends an exchange of notes at the time of the conclusion of this convention regarding the substitution of the Permanent Court of Arbitration by the Permanent [Page 203] Court of International Justice, in case the United States adhere to the Protocol of the latter Court.

7. The Royal Government wishes the convention to be concluded in the English and Dutch languages.