811.114 Belgium/260: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Belgium (Sussdorff)

22. Your telegram No. 31, June 3, 5 p.m. and despatch No. 838, May 26, 1936.22 Following excerpt from letter from Secretary of the Treasury may be communicated in writing to the Belgian authorities:

“It is suggested that the Belgian Government should be advised that the laws of the United States authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to impose landing-certificate bond requirements upon any vessel of whatever nationality when necessary to protect the national revenue. This means that should a suspected vessel such as the Hillfern attempt to clear from an American port for a foreign destination, a landing-certificate bond could be imposed, and in this connection it might be added that such a bond would certainly be imposed should this be requested by the authorities of the country against which her activities were supposed to be directed. This action would be possible under American law, notwithstanding the fact that the legislation by its terms relates to instances where such action is necessary to protect the national revenue, on the very proper theory that where any vessel is engaged in the smuggling traffic, her unlawful [Page 423] activities might just as well be directed against the United States as against the foreign country supposed to be her actual destination.

“Should a foreign-flag vessel come into an American port to take cargo under circumstances indicating an intent to smuggle such cargo into a foreign country or to permit this to be done by connivance with others, notice would be given to the ship’s master or agent that clearance would be permitted only after posting a substantial bond, this to be forfeited unless a landing certificate, properly authenticated by the customs authorities of the country of declared destination and evidencing lawful entry of such cargo into that country, should be produced in due course. If the operation of the suspected vessel were not legitimate, this would of course have the effect of preventing the loading of the vessel, for the reason that forfeiture of the bond would take all profit out of the proposed venture. The fact that the Government of the United States is known to be in a position to impose, and if necessary will unhesitatingly impose, landing certificate bond requirements, effectually prevents foreign-flag vessels from coming into American ports to take out cargoes destined for smuggling into other countries.”

Above quotation embodied in note to Belgian Ambassador here.23

For your own information see United States Code Title 19, Sections 1622, 1623 and 1624.

Instruction follows.24

  1. Neither printed.
  2. Dated July 2, 1936; not printed.
  3. No. 379, July 1, 1936; not printed.