« AnteriorContinuar »
LEGISLATION AMENDING THE
RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE
House of Representatives. .
of Representatives. The following recommendations for new legislation are made as a result of the experience of the Department of Justice and of the State Department during the past three years in the administration of law in connection with the relations of this country with Mexico and with the problems arising out of the European war.
Many acts committed in the United States in serious violation of its sovereignty and against its peace and the safety of its citizens are not now punishable by any Federal criminal law; others are punishable only under unsatisfactory statutes passed in relation to conditions altogether different from those now prevailing.
The present laws relating to neutrality are clearly defective. In some cases, no statutory provision whatever is made for the observance of obligations imperatively imposed by international law upon the United States; in other cases, inadequate provision is made.
In my opinion, the passage of the new legislation herewith submitted is required for the protection of the United States
and its citizens and for the fulfillment of the duty owed by · the United States to other nations with which it is at peace.
The general recommendations set forth in this memorandum have been submitted to the State Department and have been concurred in by the Secretary of State and by the Joint State and Navy Neutrality Board. I am submitting herewith drafts of proposed bills to carry out these recommendations.
T. W. GREGORY,
An Act making it a crime willfully to interfere with or prevent, or to attempt to interfere with or prevent, or to conspire to interfere with or prevent, the exportation to foreign countries of articles from the United States, by injury to or destruction of such articles, or of the buildings or places in which they are stored, produced, or manufactured, or of the instrumentalities of transportation used or intended to be used in the course of such exportation, or by means of any other violence or threat of violence to person or property.
NOTE.—The activities of aliens and foreign-sympathizing citizens in connection with the prevention of foreign trade can not at present be reached by any Federal law, unless the evidence should be strong enough to bring them within the reach of the laws against restraint of trade or interstate transportation of explosives. Federal legislation is clearly needed. Such legislation is constitutional. The Supreme Court has held in the broadest terms that the power of Congress to regulate commerce with foreign nations is plenary. It may exclude any article from import. It may prescribe an embargo, complete or partial, and with such limitations as it deems best. It may, therefore, punish any regulation or attempted
regulation of the export trade, or interference therewith, by private individuals; and it may penalize any attempt of individuals to interfere with the freedom of the export trade, whether such attempt is made by a contract or by a tort, by agreement of minds, or by violence. See amongst other cases-Weber v. Freed, 239 U. S. 325; Northern Securities Co. v. United States, 193 U. S. 332; United States v. Moline, 82 Fed. 594; Ex parte Byers, 32 Fed. 405; 30 Fed. Cases, No. 18,256; 25 Fed. Cases, No. 14,832; 24 Fed. Cases, No. 14,330.
An Act making it a crime to set fire to any vessel engaged in foreign commerce of the United States, or her cargo, or to tamper with the motive power or instrumentalities of navigation of such vessel, or to place bombs or explosives in or upon such vessel, or to do any other act to such vessel while within the jurisdiction of the United States (or if she is entitled to fly the flag of the United States while she is on the high seas), with intent to injure or endanger the safety of the vessel or of her cargo, or of persons on board, whether the injury or danger is so intended to take place within the jurisdiction of the United States or after the vessel shall have departed therefrom; or to attempt or to conspire to do any such act with such intent.
NOTE.—Indictments for crimes of this nature have been brought under the following Federal laws, but difficulties may arise in the way of proof or otherwise, and there should be specific statutes on the subject:
Interstate Explosives Transportation Law (35 Stat. 554, c. 334, Federal Penal Code, sections 232, 234, 235):
Sec. 232. It shall be unlawful to transport, carry, or convey, any dynamite, gunpowder, or other ex