No. 68 NAI DFA ES Box 28 File 184

Timothy A. Smiddy to Desmond FitzGerald (Dublin)

WASHINGTON, 20 April 1923

A Chara:


In a conversation I had recently with the Assistant Director of the Department of Justice, Washington D.C.[,] he informed me that there is no law in the U.S.A. against export of arms to a friendly country even though they are known to be used against that country. Such export of arms if accompanied by men organized to use them is an indictable offence as it comes under the heading of an expeditionary force.

Some few years ago a temporary embargo was put on the export of guns to Mexico. But this was chiefly in the interest of the U.S.A.

With reference to the Ammunition captured on February 24th, the Authorities here took action and the Federal Government indicted the individuals who were arrested because it is illegal to move Ammunition or guns from one State to another without license. And this ammunition had been moved from New Jersey to New York.

The absence of a law here against the export of arms renders our work difficult. As far as I can ascertain there is no ammunition or guns being exported at present from the Eastern States of U.S.A. But there is always the possibility of a few guns, and even Thompson machine guns, being smuggled by sailors on the Liners; and during transit placed for safety, sometimes, in Engineers stores. This has happened, I am informed, on many occasions on Liners going to Liverpool and, especially, Glasgow. Hence, the necessity of examining the baggage of all sailors at these ports - if possible.

The Irregulars at New York and Philadelphia[,] especially Joe McGarrity, are feeling highly nervous at present and have, as far as I can ascertain, ceased gun-running activities. They know they are being watched carefully. If definite discoveries of munitions are not being made at present (and I believe there are few, if any), the activities of our agents are having the effect of, at least, seriously impeding the efforts of the Irregulars to ship them.

Mise, le meas,
[signed] SINBAD

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