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Canadian Treaty Series

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Convention between Canada and the United States of America to Aid in Suppressing Smuggling Operations along the Border between the Dominion of Canada and the United States and in the Arrest and Prosecution of Persons Violating the Narcotic Laws of either Government, and for Other Purposes [1925] CATSer 4 (27 July 1925)



His Majesty the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, Emperor of India, in respect of the Dominion of Canada, and the United States of America, being desirous of suppressing smuggling operations along the boundary between the Dominion of Canada and the United States of America, and of assisting in the arrest and prosecution of persons violating the narcotic laws of either Government and of providing as to the omission of penalties and forfeitures in respect to the carriage of alcoholic liquors through Alaska into the Yukon territory, have agreed to conclude a Convention to give effect to these purposes and have named as their Plenipotentiaries:

His Britannic Majesty, in respect of the Dominion of Canada:

The Honourable Ernest Lapointe, K. C., a member of His Majesty's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Justice in the Government of that Dominion; and

The President of the United States of America:

Charles Evans Hughes, Secretary of State of the United States;

Who, having communicated to each other their respective full powers, which were found to be in due and proper form, have agreed upon the following articles:


The High Contracting Parties agree that the appropriate officers of the Governments of Canada and of the United States of America respectively shall be required to furnish upon request to duly authorized officers of the other Government, information concerning clearances of vessels or the transportation of cargoes, shipments or loads of articles across the international boundary when the importation of the cargo carried or of articles transported by land is subject to the payment of duties; also to furnish information respecting clearances of vessels to any ports when there is ground to suspect that the owners or persons in possession of the cargo intend to smuggle it into the territory of Canada or of the United States.


The High Contracting Parties agree that clearance from Canada or from the United States shall be denied to any vessel carrying cargo consisting of articles the importation of which into the territory of Canada or of the United States, as the case may be, is prohibited, when it is evident from the tonnage, size and general character of the vessel, or the length of the voyage and the perils or conditions of navigation attendant upon it, that the vessel will be unable to carry its cargo to the destination proposed in the application for clearance.


Each of the High Contracting Parties agrees with the other that property of all kinds in its possession which, having been stolen and brought into the territory of Canada or of the United States, is seized by its customs authorities shall, when the owners are nationals of the other country, be returned to such owners, subject to satisfactory proof of such ownership and the absence of any collusion, and subject moreover to payment of the expenses of the seizure and detention and to the abandonment of any claims by the owners against the customs, or the customs officers, warehousemen or agents, for compensation or damages for the seizure, detention, warehousing or keeping of the property.


The High Contracting Parties reciprocally agree to exchange information concerning the names and activities of all persons known or suspected to be engaged in violations of the narcotic laws of Canada or of the United States respectively.


It is agreed that the customs and other administrative officials of the respective Governments of Canada and of the United States shall upon request be directed to attend as witnesses and to produce such available records and files or certified copies thereof as may be considered essential to the trial of civil or criminal cases, and as may be produced compatibly with the public interest.

The cost of transcripts of records, depositions, certificates and letters rogatory in civil or criminal cases, and the cost of first-class transportation both ways, maintenance and other proper expenses involved in the attendance of such witnesses shall be paid by the nation requesting their attendance at the time of their discharge by the court from further attendance at such trial. Letters rogatory and commissions shall be executed with all possible despatch and copies of official records or documents shall be certified promptly by the appropriate officials in accordance with the provisions of the laws of the respective countries.


The following offences are added to the list of offences numbered 1 to 3 in Article I of the Treaty concluded between Great Britain and the United States on the 18th May, 1908, with reference to reciprocal rights for Canada and the United States in the matters of conveyance of prisoners and wrecking and salvage, that is to say:

4. Offences against the narcotic laws of the respective Governments.


No penalty or forfeiture under the laws of the United States shall be applicable or attached to alcoholic liquors or to vessels, vehicles or persons by reason of the carriage of such liquors when they are in transit under guard by Canadian authorities through the territorial waters of the United States to Skagway, Alaska, and thence by the shortest route, via the White Pass and Yukon Railway, upwards of twenty miles to Canadian territory, and such transit shall be as now provided by law with respect to the transit of alcoholic liquors through the Panama Canal or on the Panama Railroad, provided that such liquors shall be kept under seal continuously while the vessel or vehicle on which they are carried remains within the United States, its territories or possessions, and that no part of such liquors shall at any time or place be unladen within the United States, its territories or possessions.


This Convention shall be ratified, and the ratifications shall be exchanged at Washington as soon as possible. The Convention shall come into effect at the expiration of ten days from the date of the exchange of ratifications, and it shall remain in force for one year. If upon the expiration of one year after the Convention shall have been in force no notice is given by either party of a desire to terminate the same, it shall continue in force until thirty days after either party shall have given notice to the other of a desire to terminate the Convention.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed the present Convention in duplicate and have thereunto affixed their seals.

DONE at the city of Washington, the 6th day of June, 1924.

Ernest Lapointe

Charles Evans Hughes

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