Lapas attēli

vessels and stated that the bill is in conflict with the stipulations of Article XI of the Consular Convention between the United States and Italy concluded on May 8, 1878.

The Secretary of State has the honor to inform the Ambassador that while the bill referred to was passed by the Senate on April 24, 1928, and was sent to the House of Representatives where it was referred to the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries on April 26th, no further action in regard to it was taken before the adjournment of Congress.

In this relation the Secretary of State would bring to the Ambassador's notice that Article XI of the Convention of 1878 was annulled by the Supplemental Consular Convention between the United States and Italy concluded on February 24, 1881,27 which substituted a new article therefor, and that the Convention of 1881 was terminated July 1, 1916, in consequence of a notice given by this Government through the American Embassy at Rome, June 21, 1915, and April 21, 1916, and the acceptance of such notice by the Italian Government.28

WASHINGTON, June 29, 1928.

196.6/1069 The Secretary of State to the Honorable Wallace H. White, Jr.

WASHINGTON, December 8, 1928. SIR: I have the honor to refer to the Department's letter of April 28, 1928, relative to the difficulties which may attend the enactment into law of an amendment to the Seamen's Act of March 4, 1915, passed by the Senate on April 24, 1928, and to enclose for your further consideration, a copy of a note of June 12, 1928, received from the Royal Danish Legation at this capital 29 setting forth the opinion of the Danish Government that the extension of jurisdiction contemplated in the Bill would conflict not only with Danish laws but also with the generally accepted principles of international law and practice on this subject.

For your information it should be stated that Article 11 of the Consular Convention between the United States and Italy of 1878 to which the Italian Ambassador adverted and which was quoted in the Department's letter of April 28, 1928, is no longer in force.

If the proposed amendment be adopted, it is not improbable that foreign Governments might regard it as contrary to international

Malloy, Treaties, 1776-1909, vol. I, p. 983.

For correspondence on this subject, see Foreign Relations, 1915, pp. 3-10, and ibid., 1917, pp. 18-25. ** Ante, p. 836.

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comity, thereby causing embarrassment to this Government in the conduct of its foreign relations. Moreover, as has already been pointed out by the Department, the enactment into law of the amendment in question may render the American Merchant Marine subject to retaliatory measures by foreign Governments which in their effect may far outweigh any advantages which might be secured by this legislation. For the reasons stated, the Department considers that the passage of the bill under discussion would be undesirable. I have [etc.]





The British Ambassador (Howard) to the Secretary of State No. 74

WASHINGTON, February 4, 1927. SIR: I have the honour to inform you that my attention has been drawn to a Bill S. 3574 81 providing for the deportation of certain alien seamen and for other purposes, which was considered on the 2nd instant by the United States Senate, and passed in the third reading.

Section 3 of this bill provides that every alien employed on board of any vessel arriving in the United States who is found on examination by an immigration inspector not to be a bona fide seaman is immediately to be removed from the vessel to an immigration station, and if found to be inadmissible to the United States is to be deported as a passenger "on a vessel other than that on which brought, at the expense of the vessel by which brought, and the vessel by which brought shall not be granted clearance until such expenses are paid or their payment satisfactorily guaranteed.”

Furthermore, it appears from Section 7 of this bill that foreign vessels entering United States ports are to be debarred from including as members of their crew aliens ineligible to United States citizenship who are non-admissible to the United States under Section 13 (c) of the Immigration Act of 1924,32 unless such aliens are natives of the particular country, island, dependency or colony to the merchant marine of which the vessel in question belongs.

This Section of the Bill also lays down that any alien seaman brought into a port of the United States in violation of this provision shall be excluded from admission or temporary landing and shall be deported to the place of shipment or to the country of his nativity on a vessel other than that on which brought, the deportation ex


These representations were brought to the attention of the Senate Committee on Immigration.

Congressional Record, Feb. 2, 1927, vol. 68, pt. 3, p. 2782. *43 Stat. 153.


penses being defrayed by the vessel on which the alien is brought to the United States.

Inasmuch as the above mentioned sections, if interpreted in a restrictive sense, must, I cannot but feel, meet with the strenuous opposition of shipping interests in the different parts of the British Empire, I have drawn the attention of His Majesty's Government thereto for such action as they may consider suitable. At the same time, I am not clear as to the exact interpretation which should be placed upon the above mentioned sections of the Bill and as to the manner in which their provisions, if enacted, will be applied to vessels of the mercantile marine of Great Britain and the self-governing Dominions, and I should accordingly be grateful to receive from the appropriate authorities of the United States Government at their earliest convenience an authoritative interpretation of the meaning of Sections 3 and 7 of the Bill under reference.88 I have [etc.]



The German Ambassador (Maltzan) to the Secretary of State


WASHINGTON, February 5, 1927. MR. SECRETARY OF STATE: I have the honor to refer to the fact that the Bill S. 3574, "a bill to provide for the deportation of certain alien seamen, and for other purposes" was taken up in the Senate.

I reported to my Government in due course concerning the Bill and also the whole of the hearings in the Immigration Committee of the Senate concerning the Bill. My Government, reserving the right of further instructions, has now instructed me to call the attention of the Government of the United States to the fact that the enactment of the Bill would prove an extraordinary burden to German shipping interests in its application. Accept [etc.]



The French Chargé (Sartiges) to the Secretary of State


WASHINGTON, February 7, 1927. MR. SECRETARY OF STATE: My attention has been called to Bill S. 3574, printed on page 2891 of the Congressional Record under date of February 2, 1927,34 which provides for the deportation of certain foreign seamen, and was passed by the American Senate at its third reading

* The British Embassy was informed orally by an officer of the Department of State regarding the status of the bill and that it was unlikely that any House committee action would be taken without the Department of State having an opportunity to be heard.

Reference is to the daily issue, not the bound issue.

Section 3 of the Bill provides that any foreigner employed on board a vessel arriving in the United States who, after examination by the immigration inspector is not found to be a bona fide sailor shall immediately be brought to an immigration station and if found to be an undesirable shall be deported as a passenger on a vessel other than that which brought him. The Bill also provides that the expenses of the return trip will be borne by the vessel which brought the undesirable, which vessel will not be allowed to leave the port until the expenses are paid or adequate bail for such payment has been filed.

Furthermore, it appears from Section 7 of the same Bill that foreign vessels entering the ports of the United States will not have the right to carry in their crew foreigners who, if they would seek to enter the United States as immigrants, would have admittance denied them under the provisions of Paragraph (c) of Section 13 of the Immigration Law of 1924, unless those aliens are from the country, colony or dependency of the merchant marine to which the said vessel belongs.

That section provides the same penalties as Section 3.

If the restrictive interpretation is put on the foregoing provisions they will not fail to prove considerably cumbersome to the French colonial merchant marine and I should like to be in position to forward as soon as possible to my Government some explanations as to the precise meaning to be given to the sections of that Bill and also the way in which the provisions, if enacted, shall apply to the French merchant vessels. I should therefore be thankful to Your Excellency if you would kindly acquaint me at the earliest possible date with the official interpretation to be put on Sections 3 and 7 of the said Bill.35 Be pleased [etc.]



The British Embassy to the Department of State




Senate Bill S 717, copy of which is attached,36 is almost identical with the bill S 3574, which was killed in the House of Representatives last year. This bill appears to be open to serious objection on the part of foreign nations.

In a note of Feb. 17, 1927, acknowledging this note, the Department stated that, if it were decided to consider the bill further, hearings would be held and that “these hearings will undoubtedly bring out more clearly the purposes of the proposed measure." (File No. 150.071Control/19.)

* Not printed. A memorandum of May 3, 1929, from the British Embassy (not printed), with reference to Bill S. 202 introduced Apr. 18, 1929, identical with Bill S. 717, referred to this memorandum of Jan. 4, 1928, and attached a further copy (file No. 150.071Control/20).

In the first place, the bill provides for interference with the composition of the crews of foreign vessels while in United States ports. It is the general international understanding that when private ships of a foreign state are in port the territorial authorities should refrain from interference with the interior economy of the vessel. The composition of the crew is a matter which affects the interior economy of a vessel, and the proposed clauses, if enacted, would therefore conflict with a well-established, well-recognized and useful international practice.

Further, the bill would in effect discriminate against foreign vessels trading in American ports. It would cause great embarrassment to all ships in which Chinese labor and Lascars are employed, and in particular to British Tramp Steamers trading with American Ports in the course of their world voyages. The technical difficulties of eliminating from the crews of tramp steamers the Asiatic elements against which this bill is aimed would, in practice, probably result in the masters of such vessels being compelled to cut out American ports from their sailing schedules. In this way freight rates on American exported produce would automatically rise, prices of American grain and cotton and other produce would be increased in the countries of consumption, and British consumers of such produce would be obliged to curtail their purchases with resulting damage to themselves and their trade with the United States.

Even stronger objection may be taken to the proposed legislation on the ground that it constitutes a direct interference with trade, its effect being to dictate to other countries how they are to carry goods to and from the American market. At the same time, the proposed interference with the composition of the crews of foreign vessels and in particular the difficulty of complying with Section 6 of the Bill, which refuses clearance to vessels departing from the United States unless carrying a crew of at least the same number as on arrival, are likely to lead to much inconvenience and in many cases to long delay, involving the alteration of sailing schedules and serious loss to business. Further, the Bill would prohibit the employment of Lascars and Chinese on ships registered outside their own States, and countries such as India might well consider this as a direct and unwarrantable interference with the employment of their subjects on the high seas. Active apprehensions have in fact been caused in the Legislative Assembly in India, who have been in communication with His Majesty's Government in Great Britain on the subject.

At the same time, protests have been received from many of the principal shipping interests in Great Britain. The opinion was ex

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