The Netherland Minister (De Graeff) to the Acting Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Grew: In connection with the so called liquor treaty that soon will be concluded between the United States and the Royal Government I take liberty to ask you whether it would be possible that the provisions of that treaty practically are put in force already from the date of signature of the treaty. My Government is quite willing to accept the consequences of that treaty pending the exchange of ratifications and we hope sincerely that the American Government could do the same, so that the American authorities from the date of signature are entitled to board and to search our ships outside the 3-mile limit and on the other side our ships may carry alcoholic beverages under seal within that limit.

As on account of the recess of the Senate ratification of the treaty cannot be expected before the beginning of next year both parties for purely formal reasons still for several months would be deprived of the benefits of the treaty and in the opinion of my Government this would be regrettable and useless as there is no reasonable doubt whether the treaty will have the approval of the Senate and of our Parliament.

The question is for us of special importance as after the decision of the Supreme Court72 our steamship companies had to abandon the carrying of alcoholic beverages in transit to our West Indian colonies and they are anxious to resume this profitable business as soon as possible.

I would highly appreciate if you could let me know at your earliest convenience if the American Government could agree with this proposal and eventually would be willing to issue instructions to the authorities concerned so that the carrying of alcoholic beverages under seal will be allowed to our ships from the date of signature of the treaty.

While offering you my anticipated thanks I avail myself [etc.]

De Graeff
  1. See letter of May 3, 1923, to the chiefs of foreign missions in the United States, Foreign Relations, 1923, vol. i, p. 133.