The Ambassador in Argentina (Stimson) to the Secretary of State

No. 1040

Sir: I have the honor to enclose copy of a note with translation received from the Minister for Foreign Affairs December 30th ultimo,7 enclosing the decree authorizing the operation of the cable of the Central & South American Telegraph Company from Buenos Aires to Montevideo.

This decree was finally confirmed against the persistent opposition of the Western Telegraph Company, and even of the British Government. (See my Despatch No. 1023 of December 16, 1919; and No. 921 of August 27, 1919, enclosing a copy of the protest lodged by the Western Telegraph Company with both houses of Congress; and my Despatch No. 721 of January 3rd, 1919, enclosing the formal protest of the British Minister made under direct instruction of the British Foreign Office.)8

When I called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs to ask him to convey my appreciation of his assistance in carrying through this concession, he remarked that the news would not be pleasant to my friend Sir Reginald Tower (the former British Minister). He further remarked (and this is a matter of considerable interest) that President Irigoyen was unalterably opposed to monopoly, and that the concession of monopoly given to the Western Company in [Page 182] 1909 never should have been granted. This statement is of interest in showing that should the Central & South American Company decide to attack the monopoly of the Western Company in its effort to revive its original concession of 1881 [1885] it will at least have the sympathy of the present Government.

I regret to see in the newspapers of yesterday a telegram from Rio de Janeiro stating that the concessions for the cables from Rio given to Mr. Carney9 are again questioned by the Brazilian Government authorities, apparently on the ground that his location has not been approved. Of this matter the Department will of course be informed by the Embassy at Rio; its bearing on the situation down here is only that if the Brazilian concession cannot be made operative from Rio to Montevideo it will probably be necessary for the Central & South American Company to again ask for a direct cable from here to Rio.

In my opinion it will be difficult for the British Government to escape from the argument that this question is closed by the granting of a concession for a sub-marine cable from here to Montevideo, unless it take the ground that this concession was not an infringement of their monopoly because not a sub-marine cable; that is to say, that the River Plate is not a part of the high seas. This is a question which in my opinion they will not desire to raise at the present time.

The cable is working very satisfactorily, and I have advised the Embassy at Santiago that they can send their telegrams to our Legation at Montevideo directly in the future.

I have [etc.]

F. J. Stimson

Executive Decree of December 18, 1919, Authorizing the Operation of the Cable of the Central & South American Telegraph Co. from Buenos Aires to Montevideo

After examination of the subject; and in view of the information given by the Dirección General de Correos y Telégrafos and the Ministry of Public Works; and the Central & South American Telegraph Company having reduced to public writing the concession granted to it to lay one or more cables between Buenos Aires and Montevideo,

[Page 183]

The Executive Power of the Nation


  • Article 1. To approve the labor effected by the Central and South American Telegraph Company in the construction of the telegraphic cable between Buenos Aires and Montevideo, authorized by decree of the 1st of August 1918, and authorize it to open the service to the public.
  • Article 2. If the Government should resolve in the future to dredge the Punta de Indio Canal to a greater depth of 7.80 metres, the company must move the cable to the position which may be indicated, without indemnization [indemnification] on the part of the Government, and the corresponding expenses shall be borne by it.
  • Article 3. The Central & South American Telegraph Company will mark with buoys the principal points of the course of the cable, the position and placing of which are to be communicated to the Ministry of Public Works, in order that they may figure in the corresponding plans of the River Plate.
  • Article 4. To be communicated, published, given to the National Registry and filed, after reposition of the appropriate seal.

  • Irigoyen
  • R. Gomez
  1. Not printed.
  2. Despatches and enclosures not printed.
  3. Frank Carney, representative of the Central & South American Telegraph Co. in Brazil.