THE SEIZURE OF FOREIGN SMUGGLING VESSELS IN 1922 BY THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT AND THE FOUR- LEAGUE STATUTES AND OTHER LAWS
It has just been pointed out that the British Government has been endeavoring for several decades to establish the so-called "three-mile limit" as the maximum limit of jurisdiction seaward for some purposes. It has been unwilling to make an exception as to jurisdiction over vessels engaged in illicit trade with the shore, except in two or three cases. The reassertion of this position in 1922, when the United States began the seizure of British "rum-running" vessels under her four-league statutes, brought the matter to a sharp issue. The British Government objected to the seizure of its vessels, in some cases, more than three miles from the shore, however menacing their conduct was; while the United States Government was equally positive in its position that such seizures under the hovering laws were, under certain circumstances, not in contravention of any principle of International Law. This led to treaties between these two Governments and between the United States and many other countries, embodying the principle contended for by the United States. The provisions of these treaties and the negotiations leading up to them will be reserved for consideration after the diplomatic discussions of the seizures made before the treaty was concluded, are dealt with.