File No. 811.73/15.
The French Ambassador to the Secretary of State.
Washington, November 23, 1914.
Mr. Secretary of State: The “Compagnie Française des Câbles Télégraphiques requests me to lay before your excellency its claims and desiderata in regard to the taxes levied by the States of Massachusetts and Connecticut on its land line from Orleans, Mass., to New York.
Some years ago the company was allowed by the Federal Government to land its Câbles on territory of the United States and in 1879 was granted the “right of way” between its landing point and New York, that is to say, across the two above-named States, on condition that a like privilege would be granted to American companies in France.
That condition was fulfilled; the Western Union Telegraph Co. and the Commercial Cable Co., which own a land line from Havre to Paris, pay no taxes thereon.
Our company therefore believes itself entitled to the same treatment and to the enjoyment of the privileges provided by the Post Road Act of Congress of 1866.[Page 391]
The French company’s agent further argues that his line never failed to render, whenever the opportunity offered, every possible service to American interests. Thus as the last instance, it was able to assist the citizens of the United States who were in Europe at the beginning of the hostilities by forwarding, free of charge, hundreds of telegrams routed by that line.
I venture to commend to your excellency’s most benevolent attention a request which seems to be well founded in every particular, and I shall be very thankful to you for any step you would kindly take toward having justice done to the French company’s petition.
Be pleased to accept [etc.]