File No. 810.74.


To the Diplomatic Officers of the United States accredited to Latin American Governments (Panama for information only).

Gentlemen: In view of the influence which radio communication will increasingly exert upon the relations between the countries of this hemisphere, the Department of State has long been interested in the development of the wireless telegraph and telephone systems in Latin-American countries, whether conducted by Government operation or private enterprise.

It is a matter of public knowledge that in certain Central and South American countries there are radio stations, of both high and medium power, which have been erected by European capital and which are, to some extent, if not entirely, operated and controlled by European companies. The Department therefore believes it to be to the mutual advantage of the American Governments, and the moment opportune, to call to their attention the complications with which the present situation is fraught, should unwarranted use of such radio stations be cited as an alleged violation of neutrality, and the importance which this Government attaches to the effort that the ownership and control of radio communication shall not pass beyond this hemisphere and into European or Asiatic hands.

The Department would accordingly be inclined to look with favor, and believes that the other American Governments would share this view, upon any mutually acceptable agreement whereby the control of this vitally important method of communication between the American continents might rest wholly in sympathetic and disinterested hands, thus realizing another conception of a broad and beneficent Pan-Americanism. The Department is further of the opinion that an exchange of views upon this matter might properly take place during the forthcoming Pan-American Scientific Congress, the duly accredited delegates to which might be instructed by their Governments to discuss it in an informal conference called for this purpose.

You are therefore directed to bring, informally and preferably orally, to the attention of the Government to which you are accredited the substance of this instruction. In discussing the subject it would not be irrelevant to direct attention to the very high development and success of the wireless installations in operation in this country.

In reporting, in triplicate, regarding your representations in this regard and the attitude of the Government toward the policy outlined, you will add the results of your discreet inquiry regarding the wireless stations now in operation in the country of your residence, those under construction, those proposed to be constructed, and the nationality of those owning, controlling, and operating them, bearing [Page 25] in mind that the erection of radio stations in such countries by American capital and with American apparatus might lead to an agreement by which such stations could be used in communicating with the United States shore and ship stations. The Department desires your active and continued interest in the matter.

I am [etc.]

Robert Lansing.