811.114 St. Pierre-Miquelon/147

The Under Secretary of State ( Phillips ) to the French Ambassador ( Laboulaye )

My Dear Mr. Ambassador: The officers of the American Government charged with the prevention of smuggling into the United States had hoped that with the repeal of the 18th Amendment11 problems in connection with the smuggling of liquor into the United States would disappear. Partial cessation of shipments of illicit liquor into this country during the first three months of the present year seemed to indicate that these hopes would be realized, but during the last six months there has again been a considerable increase in the volume of illicit liquor trade.

I am informed that there have been a number of evidences of a revival of smuggling of liquor into the United States from the Islands of St. Pierre-et-Miquelon. During the three months’ period ended September 30th last 24,495 gallons of alcohol, originating for the most part in Europe, were transshipped in Canadian ports en route to St. Pierre-et-Miquelon. I have also been informed that considerable quantities of alcohol have been exported direct from European ports to St. Pierre-et-Miquelon; in this regard I may mention the fact that an officer of the Norwegian steamship Glittrefjell recently stated to American customs officers in an American port that this vessel discharged approximately 10,000 gallons of alcohol at St. Pierre on a direct voyage from Europe during the early part of September.

The alcohol illicitly imported into the United States is used for the illegal manufacture of cheap spirits which are sold without the payment of any taxes. These illicit products compete directly with the alcoholic beverages manufactured in this country by legitimate producers and with cognac, cordials and wines imported into the United States from France. In these circumstances it seems clear that the use of St. Pierre-et-Miquelon as a smuggling base for this traffic is definitely contrary to the interests of legitimate producers of alcoholic beverages in France who export their products to the United States. [Page 399] It seems pertinent to add that none of the vessels understood to be using St. Pierre as a smuggling base is French and that few of the persons interested in the traffic are nationals of your country.

In view of the foregoing considerations, it is my earnest hope that your Government will take suitable steps to frustrate these efforts to use St. Pierre-et-Miquelon as a base for the above-mentioned illegal activities.

I am [etc.]

William Phillips
  1. The 21st Amendment to the Constitution, repealing the 18th Amendment, became effective December 5, 1933.