University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Foreign Relations of the United States

Page View

United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1937. The British Commonwealth, Europe, Near East and Africa

United Kingdom ,   pp. 1-135 PDF (51.1 MB)

Page 124

arrests would be permitted under the ordinary rules of international
law, but are not, on the other hand, so wide as to cover the high seas
in general.
  His Majesty's Government feel constrained to make these observa-
tions because the communications received from the State Depart-
ment appear to imply that the United States authorities regard them-
selves as justified, morally if not legally, in arresting a suspected
smuggler wherever found. If such an interpretation of the Conven-
tion were to prevail, the limits set out therein would become largely
meaningless in practice. The chief benefit now derived by His
Majesty's Government from the Convention is that by giving the
United States powers of interference with British vessels within fairly
wide limits, they secure for those vessels freedom from interference
outside those limits. If, however, those vessels are to be interfered
with whether they are inside or outside those limits (and, a priori,
such vessels will almost certainly be smugglers in which United States
citizens are interested) then His Majesty's Government will derive no
further benefit from the Convention.
  His Majesty's Government are far from desirous of engaging in
controversy with the United States Government on questions which
are necessarily of a somewhat unsavoury character. But the freedom
of British shipping is a principle that His Majesty's Government are
determined to maintain, and they cannot allow their international
rights to be lightly violated, even where to uphold them incidentally
involves the appearance of defending the interest of smugglers.
  WASHINGTON, November 17, 1937.
811.1i4 Miserinko/165
   The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador (Lindsay)
                                  WASHINGTON, December 21, 1937.
  EXCELLENCY: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your
note no. 401 of November 17, 1937, making a formal protest against
the seizure of the vessel Miserinko by the United States Coast Guard
authorities on March 14, 1936, as well as of your memorandum of
the same date setting forth the British Government's position with
regard to the seizure of this vessel.
  In reply I desire to express regret that the incident occurred and
my gratification that it may now be regarded as closed.
  Copies of the note and its accompanying memorandum have been
forwarded to the appropriate authorities of this Government for
their information.
  Accept [etc.]                                    CORDELL HULL

Go up to Top of Page