The French Chargé (Sartiges) to the Secretary of State


Mr. Secretary of State: My attention has been called to Bill S. 3574, printed on page 2891 of the Congressional Record under date of February 2, 1927,34 which provides for the deportation of certain [Page 840] foreign seamen, and was passed by the American Senate at its third reading.

Section 3 of the Bill provides that any foreigner employed on board a vessel arriving in the United States who, after examination by the immigration inspector is not found to be a bona fide sailor shall immediately be brought to an immigration station and if found to be an undesirable shall be deported as a passenger on a vessel other than that which brought him. The Bill also provides that the expenses of the return trip will be borne by the vessel which brought the undesirable, which vessel will not be allowed to leave the port until the expenses are paid or adequate bail for such payment has been filed.

Furthermore, it appears from Section 7 of the same Bill that foreign vessels entering the ports of the United States will not have the right to carry in their crew foreigners who, if they would seek to enter the United States as immigrants, would have admittance denied them under the provisions of Paragraph (c) of Section 13 of the Immigration Law of 1924, unless those aliens are from the country, colony or dependency of the merchant marine to which the said vessel belongs.

That section provides the same penalties as Section 3.

If the restrictive interpretation is put on the foregoing provisions they will not fail to prove considerably cumbersome to the French colonial merchant marine and I should like to be in position to forward as soon as possible to my Government some explanations as to the precise meaning to be given to the sections of that Bill and also the way in which the provisions, if enacted, shall apply to the French merchant vessels. I should therefore be thankful to Your Excellency if you would kindly acquaint me at the earliest possible date with the official interpretation to be put on Sections 3 and 7 of the said Bill.35

Be pleased [etc.]

  1. Reference is to the daily issue, not the bound issue.
  2. In a note of Feb. 17, 1927, acknowledging this note, the Department stated that, if it were decided to consider the bill further, hearings would be held and that “these hearings will undoubtedly bring out more clearly the purposes of the proposed measure.” (File No. 150.071Control/19.)