The German Embassy to the Department of State


N. Y. 471

The German Embassy has the honor to inform the Department of State of the following, with a request for examination and further action:

The State of New York has adopted a law, “Alcoholic Beverage Control Law”84 (An Act relating to the manufacture, sale, control, distribution and regulation of certain alcoholic beverages, constituting chapter 3–b of the consolidated laws). Paragraph 84 of the law conflicts, according to the view of the Embassy, with the German-American Commercial Treaty.85 For according to Paragraph 84 the granting of licenses for the beer business to non-citizens of the United States or to companies which are not under the control of American citizens is prohibited. Paragraph 84 reads:

Persons Forbidden To Traffic in Beer.

No person hereafter described in this section shall receive a license to traffic in beer.

A person who has been convicted of a felony.
A person under the age of twenty-one.
A person who is not a citizen of the United States.
A copartnership, unless one or more of the members of such copartnership owning at least one-half interest in the business thereof shall be a citizen of the United States.
A person who shall have had his license issued under this chapter revoked for cause, or who has been convicted of a violation of this chapter until the expiration of two years from the date of such revocation or conviction.
A corporation or copartnership, if an officer or member thereof has been convicted of a violation of this chapter or has had a license issued under this chapter revoked for cause, until two years from the date of such conviction or revocation”.

According to the above wording, the act would contravene, in particular, Article I of the German-American Commercial Treaty, in which it is stated:

“The nationals of each of the High Contracting Parties shall be permitted to enter, travel and reside in the territories of the other; to exercise liberty of conscience and freedom of worship; to engage in professional, scientific, religious, philanthropic, manufacturing and commercial work of every kind without interference; to carry on every form of commercial activity which is not forbidden by the local law; to own, erect or lease and occupy appropriate buildings and to lease lands for residential, scientific, religious, philanthropic, manufacturing, commercial and mortuary purposes; to employ agents of their choice, and generally to do anything incidential to or necessary for the enjoyment of any of the foregoing privileges upon the same terms as nationals of the state of residence or as nationals of the nation hereafter to be most favored by it, submitting themselves to all local laws and regulations duly established.

The nationals of either High Contracting Party within the territories of the other shall not be subjected to the payment of any internal charges or taxes other or higher than those that are exacted of and paid by its nationals.

The nationals of each High Contracting Party shall enjoy freedom of access to the courts of justice of the other on conforming to the local laws, as well for the prosecution as for the defense of their rights, and in all degrees of jurisdiction established by law.

The nationals of each High Contracting Party shall receive within the territories of the other, upon submitting to conditions imposed upon its nationals, the most constant protection and security for their persons and property, and shall enjoy in this respect that degree of protection that is required by international law. Their property shall not be taken without due process of law and without payment of just compensation.

(Nothing herein contained shall be construed to affect existing statutes of either country in relation to the immigration of aliens or the right of either country to enact such statutes.86)”

[Page 536]

The German Embassy has the honor to thank the Department of State in advance for the appropriate steps.

  1. Printed in Laws of the State of New York, 1933, ch. 180, p. 595.
  2. Signed at Washington, December 8, 1923, Foreign Relations, 1923, vol. ii, p. 29.
  3. Senate reservation contained in resolution of February 10, 1925, giving advice and consent to ratification of the treaty.