811.114 Fisher Lassie/9

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Dawes)

No. 1010

Sir: There is enclosed a copy of an instruction addressed to the American Consul at Nassau, Bahamas, under date of October 10, 1931,41 requesting him to endeavor to obtain from the appropriate Bahaman authorities certified copies of the entrance and clearance papers of certain vessels suspected of being engaged in the smuggling of liquor into the United States, as well as information regarding the cargo carried, names of shippers and names of masters. This information was requested by Assistant Attorney General Youngquist on behalf of the Director of the Bureau of Prohibition for use in connection with proceedings which are contemplated against the vessels. A copy of Mr. Youngquist’s letter, with its enclosures, is likewise transmitted herewith.41

The Consul stated in his reply that he had been informed by the Acting Colonial Secretary of the Bahamas that the furnishing of such information was, upon instruction from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, forbidden. A copy of the Consul’s reply, transmitting copies of correspondence exchanged with the Acting Colonial Secretary on the subject, is also enclosed. The latter bases his refusal apparently on instructions received prior to the agreement reached at the conference held in London in July, 1926,42 between representatives of Great Britain and the United States, as the result of which certain methods of cooperation were formulated. Section 4 of this agreement entitled “Prosecutions” provides that proceedings shall be instituted for infringement of British or United States law, and the last sentence reads, “In this connection, an attempt should at once be made to secure, if possible, the necessary evidence to enable proceedings to be instituted in the case of vessels known to be engaged in the traffic.”

You are requested to take up this matter with the appropriate British authorities and to inquire whether the understanding of the Acting Colonial Secretary is correct.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
W. R. Castle, Jr.
[Page 46]

The Consul at Nassau (Fisher) to the Secretary of State44

No. 536

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of the Department’s memorandum instruction of October 10, 1931 (file No. 811.114 Fisher Lassie/3 [14]),45 directing that I endeavor to obtain and forward to it, for the use of the Department of Justice in an investigation it is making into alleged smuggling activities in the Gulf of Mexico, certified copies of the entrance and clearance papers, cargo carried, names of shippers, and names of masters of vessels named in the instruction, on their several arrivals at and departure from Nassau and Salt Cay, during the period from January 1, 1930, to date.

In reply, I have to report that immediately upon receipt of the instruction the certified copies of the papers and the information called for were requested in a letter dated October 20, 1931, addressed to the Acting Colonial Secretary of the Bahamas, a copy of which is herewith enclosed.

On October 17, 1931, the question of furnishing the information desired by the Department of Justice was discussed at an interview had with the Acting Colonial Secretary, on which occasion he informed me that the furnishing of such information to this Consulate was, upon instruction from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, forbidden, and that this Consulate had been so informed in a letter from his Office dated September 18, 1925.45 The confirmation of the Acting Colonial Secretary’s statement at that interview is contained in his letter dated October 28, 1931, a copy of which is also enclosed. In this connection the Department is respectfully referred to this Consulate’s despatch No. 62, of September 22, 1925,45 and subsequent correspondence on this subject.

It is not believed that the information concerning the movements of liquor vessels in Bahamian waters now being supplied this Consulate by the local authorities is of any material value to the United States authorities in their efforts to suppress the smuggling of liquor from the Bahamas into the United States. The weekly reports of departures of vessels from Bimini and West End are not received by this Consulate until several days after the close of the week concerned, and practically no departures of vessels with “interesting cargoes” from Nassau are officially reported to this office.

[Page 47]

The only information that has been obtained by this Consulate relative to the movements of liquor-running vessels in the Bahamas since July 1, 1930, has been secured from private sources, and with the exception of a short period,—November, 1930, to March, 1931,—has been paid for from private means. From these sources it has been learned that the vessels Leon Juin, Rosita and Paddy Hafferty, mentioned in the Department’s instruction under acknowledgment, have left Bahamas waters with cargoes of liquor supposedly for points along the United States coast on several occasions since July 1, 1930, on each of which the information was telegraphed to the Commander, Florida East Coast Patrol Area, at Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Yours respectfully,

Fred D. Fisher
[Subenclosure 1]

The American Consul at Nassau (Fisher) to the Acting Colonial Secretary of the Bahamas (Bethel)

No. 624.4–FDF

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that I have been directed by the Department of State, Washington, to request from the appropriate authorities of the Bahamas Government, certified copies of the entrance and clearance papers, as well as information showing the dates of entry and clearance, cargoes carried, names of shippers, and names of masters, of each of the following vessels on their several arrivals at and departures from Nassau, Salt Cay and other places in the Bahamas Group, during the period from January 1, 1930, to date:

  • Fisher Lassie
  • Miss Carmen Blancaneaux
  • Concord
  • Corozal
  • Admiral Sturdee
  • C. M. Lawrence
  • General Tosta
  • La Plata
  • Marshal Frank
  • Mavis Barbara
  • Leon Juin
  • Lady Antoinette
  • R. A. Glen
  • Rosita
  • Pasajero
  • Olivia M.
  • Ouitchouan
  • Montagua (Motagua?)
  • Maya Prince
  • Halcon
  • Hattie Halferty (Paddy Hafferty)

I would be very appreciative if you will kindly furnish me with the necessary information to enable me to reply to the instruction of the Department of State in this matter.

I have [etc.]

Fred D. Fisher
[Page 48]
[Subenclosure 2]

The Acting Colonial Secretary of the Bahamas (Bethel) to the American Consul at Nassau (Fisher)

No. 4638A

Sir: With reference to your letter No. 624.4.FDF. of the 20th October applying for certified documents relating to the arrivals at and departures of certain vessels from ports in this Colony, I am directed to point out that had any of these vessels cleared foreign with cargoes of liquor from one of the ports of Nassau, Bimini or West End, the information would appear in the list of such vessels which are regularly supplied to your office. I am to add that, under instructions received from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, of which your office has been previously informed, this Government is required to supply you with information in general terms only respecting vessels clearing from ports of this Colony with substantial cargoes of liquor destined for ports outside the Colony on or adjacent to the East Coast of America between Panama and the St. Lawrence. In this connection I am to refer you to letters from this office of 18th September, 1925, and 28th January, 1926, copies of which are enclosed for convenience of reference.48

2. There has hitherto been no departure from this rule excepting where further information has been required for adjudication on seizure of vessels by United States Authorities and having regard to the fact that the present practice is the outcome of negotiation between the Governments of the United States of America and Great Britain this Government will not take upon itself to alter the existing rule.

I have [etc.]

Chas. P. Bethel
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. See Foreign Relations, 1926, vol. ii, pp. 336 ff., especially pp. 350354.
  4. Filed separately under 811.114 Fisher Lassie/6.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Not printed.
  7. Not printed.
  8. Not printed.