HC Deb 16 July 1923 vol 166 cc1864-5
34. Sir W. DAVISON

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the British authorities have been unable to arrest the 200 deserters from British ships who form part of the crew of the "Leviathan," a United States ship, which has just berthed at Southampton, as the United States authorities claim that under international law the ship is United States territory and not subject to English municipal law; that at the same time the "Leviathan" has, in breach of American municipal law, contracted in Great Britain to take on board large stores of spirituous liquors for consumption on the return journey to the United States, so that she will not be handicapped in competing for passengers with British ships; and whether he will draw the attention of the United States Government to the above inconsistencies in making representations in connection with their refusal to allow British ships to retain liquor under seal while in American waters, such liquor being provided for consumption on the high seas and not within American jurisdiction?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. I understand that summonses have been issued in the case of a number of men believed to be deserters from British ships, and that some of them attended in Court, while others have not yet been traced. I have no information as regards the second part of the question, but will make inquiries. It would not, however, be a breach of American municipal law, so far as I am aware, for a United States ship to carry spirituous liquors obtained in England for consumption on the high seas.


Is my hon. Friend aware that, according to the Canadian Press that has just come over, a further grave inconvenience has been caused in this way, that a British ship sailing from Canada to Australia, which stopped at Honolulu, has been obliged to go on "dry" from that part, and—[HON. MEMBERS: "Shame!"]


The hon. Member should give notice of that question.

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