The Secretary of State to the Minister in Norway (Philip)
Sir: Information has been received that the Norwegian steamship Anders cleared from Antwerp, Belgium, May 11, 1935, for London; St. John’s, Newfoundland; Sorel, Montreal, Toronto and Hamilton, Canada; and Cleveland, Ohio, with 5,085 cases of alcohol. The Anders arrived at St. John’s on May 28, 1935, direct from Antwerp with the cargo of alcohol on board, 5,047 cases of which were consigned to “R” and 38 cases to order at St. Pierre-Miquelon. The vessel was due to leave for St. Pierre-Miquelon on the evening of May 29. However, at noon on May 28 it cleared for Montreal with the 5,085 cases of alcohol still on board. The Anders arrived at Montreal on June 5, 1935, without the alcohol and the Captain admitted that it had been transferred on the high seas to a motor vessel, the name of which was covered. The vessel to which the alcohol was transferred was undoubtedly the British smuggling vessel Augusta and Raymond which had cleared in ballast from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, on May 28, 1935, for Bermuda, with ten extra barrels of fuel oil. The transfer was effected on May 30, 1935, at a point approximately twenty-four miles from St. Pierre-Miquelon and the Augusta and Raymond was subsequently found by United States Coast Guard vessels apparently heavily loaded. The Augusta and Raymond has been under observation by the enforcement authorities of this Government for several years.
The action of the Norwegian steamship Anders in thus assisting in the smuggling of alcohol into the United States by discharging its cargo on the high seas to a vessel which is engaged in the smuggling traffic would appear to be contrary to Sections 1 and 2 of the Norwegian law of June 25, 1926, concerning the participation by Norwegian ships in smuggling into foreign countries. A translation of this law [Page 423] was forwarded with the Legation’s despatch No. 725 of January 18, 1926,47 and reads as follows:
“The shipowner or agent who uses a Norwegian ship in smuggling into a foreign country shall be punished by a fine.
“A shipowner or agent who rents a Norwegian ship or allows it to convey freight when he knows or should know that the charterer or shipper intends to use it for smuggling into a foreign country, shall be punished in the same way.
“Under this law it will be deemed smuggling when a ship’s cargo is discharged at sea outside the customs limits of another country under such circumstances that there is overwhelming evidence that the cargo was to be smuggled in.
“The profits made by this unlawful trade can be confiscated by the courts and taken away from the guilty or from the person or persons on whose account he operated.
“This law is to come into force immediately.”
You are requested to take up the matter with the appropriate Norwegian authorities and to request that an investigation be made and, if the facts warrant it, that appropriate action be taken against those responsible under the Norwegian law quoted above.
Very truly yours,
- Despatch No. 725 not printed.↩