The Ambassador in Spain (Moore) to the Secretary of State

No. 370

Sir: In confirmation of my cipher telegram No. 35 of July 11th, 5 p.m., and in pursuance of the Department’s instruction No. 61 of February 15, 1924,2 relative to a proposed Convention with Spain to aid in the prevention of the smuggling of intoxicating liquors into the United States, I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy and translation of a Note from the Foreign Office, No. 67 of July 8, 1924, enclosing a draft of Convention2 and stating that the Spanish Government accepts in principle the terms of the proposed Convention as set forth in the text forwarded with the instruction under acknowledgment.3

An objection, however, is raised by the Spanish Government to the provisions of Article 1 of the proposed Convention, which establishes that “the Authorities of either of the High Contracting Parties may, within a distance of twelve geographical miles from its coasts, board the private vessels of the other” in order to institute the appropriate search.

It is proposed that Article 1 be changed to read as follows: “The High Contracting Parties declare that it is their firm intention to uphold the principle that the proper limits of their respective territorial waters continue to be those determined by the legislation of the two countries.” For the extent of jurisdiction over territorial waters claimed by Spain for all purposes except that of neutrality, the Department is referred to this Embassy’s despatch No. 271 of March 4, 1924.4

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With the exception of an additional clause and an unimportant modification of paragraph 2 of the Article relating to the settlement of claims arising under the Convention, the proposed text thereof is identical to that of the Convention between the United States and Great Britain of January 23, 1924,5 which the Spanish Government states it would be willing to accept in general terms. The additional clause proposed by the Spanish Government reads as follows: “Nevertheless, ships will not be held responsible for acts committed or attempted by a person or persons aboard said ships exclusively and in contravention of the laws obtaining in the premises.”

The above mentioned minor modification of paragraph 2 of Article 4 of the British Convention (Article 6, Spanish draft) is: “On the other hand, that is to say, when the aforementioned persons do not succeed in reaching agreement, the claim shall be referred to an arbiter in accordance with the provisions of the special Arbitration Convention concluded between Spain and the United States April 20, 1908,6 prorogued for five years on March 8, 1919,7 and ratified October 14th of that year.”

In communicating the foregoing to the Department, pursuant to the request of the Foreign Office, I venture to renew the suggestion made in my telegram No. 35 of yesterday’s date that I be furnished as soon as practicable with a draft of Convention agreeable to the Department.

I have [etc.]

Alexander P. Moore
  1. Neither printed.
  2. Neither printed.
  3. The text here referred to was a confirmation copy of that transmitted to the Ambassador in Spain in telegram No. 27, June 9, 1923, 4 p.m., Foreign Relations, 1923, vol. i, p. 150.
  4. Ibid., p. 225.
  5. Ibid., 1924, vol. i, p. 158.
  6. Ibid., 1908, p. 721.
  7. Ibid., 1919, vol. ii, p. 807.