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Seizure of Diplomatic Liquor Creates Incident

Time Magazine, April 1, 1929, pages 68 - 69


Temporary seizure of diplomatic liquor enroute to the Siamese legation in Washington created an Incident. The State Department obtained a Treasury Department ruling that embassy liquor could be transported by private U.S. trucks and drivers, provided an accredited diplomat was actually aboard the vehicle. Then, the U.S. Coast Guard sank the British auxiliary schooner, I'm Alone and killed one of her crew. The British ambassador called at the State Department.

The Coast Guard Commandant called the I'm Alone a "notorious rum runner" and explained that the U.S. cutter Walcott had ordered the two-master to halt for inspection. Instead of stopping, the I'm Alone turned and fled. Cornered by other U.S. craft 24 hours later on the high seas, the I'm Alone was sent down by gunfire. One man was lost. The rest of the crew, in irons, were carried to New Orleans. The I'm Alone's skipper said his schooner was "anchored 14 to 15 miles offshore" and he did not heave to because he did not think the U.S. had jurisdiction. His ship, he figured, went down 225 miles offshore in a heavy sea under 120 U.S. shots.

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