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Republic of Mexico v. Hoffman, 324 U.S. 30 (1945)

Republic of Mexico v. Hoffman

No. 455

Argued January 11, 12, 1945

Decided February S, 1945

324 U.S. 30


1. The decisions of the two courts below that the vessel in question was not in the possession or service of the Mexican government are supported by the evidence. P. 324 U. S. 33.

2. A merchant vessel owned but not possessed by a friendly foreign government held not immune from a suit in rem in admiralty where the Department of State has refrained from certifying that it allows the immunity or recognizes ownership of the vessel without possession by the foreign government as a ground for immunity. Pp. 324 U. S. 36, 324 U. S. 38.

3. Since the Department of State has long and consistently followed the policy of recognizing immunity from suit of a vessel in the possession and service of a foreign government, the courts have allowed such immunity upon proof of such possession and use even when not certified by the Department of State. P. 324 U. S. 36.

4. It is the duty of the courts, in a matter so intimately associated with our foreign policy and which may profoundly affect it, not to enlarge an immunity to an extent which the Government, though it has had numerous opportunities, has not seen fit to recognize. P. 324 U. S. 38.

143 F.2d 854, affirmed.

Certiorari, 323 U.S. 697, to review the affirmance of a judgment for the libellant in a suit in rem in admiralty.

Page 324 U. S. 31

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