The Netherland Minister (Van Haersma de With) to the Secretary of State

No. 914

The Netherlands Minister presents his compliments to the Secretary of State and acting on instructions from the Netherlands Government, has the honour respectfully to draw Mr. Hull’s attention to the contents of a bill, H. R. 112, on the subject of which a public hearing will [be] held on March 24 next, and which if enacted would ruin an important branch of the Netherlands shipping trade.

The bill in question intends to make it unlawful for any foreign vessel “to transport passengers on a so called continued voyage terminating at the port of departure or any other port in the United States, notwithstanding that said vessel enters or touches any foreign port on such voyage, under a penalty of $200 for each passenger so transported and landed.”

The result of this legislation would be that no Netherlands vessel would be allowed to engage in passenger-cruises from New York to the Mediterranean, the West Indian Islands etc. and back to New York or even to take passengers on a round trip from New York to a port or ports in the Netherlands West or East Indies and back to the United States, notwithstanding the fact that on none of these voyages any other United States port is touched.

The Netherlands Government fails to see how voyages of the nature described above could possibly be classified under coastwise trade which should be reserved for American ships only and trusts that the United States Government will avert enactment of this measure which would deal a death blow to the particular branch of Netherlands shipping involved.