The Commission to Negotiate Peace to the Secretary of State
[Received 2:54 p.m.]
3928. Am informed by Admiral Billiard that the four principal Allies have accepted in principle invitation of State Department to meet in Washington for the purpose of study of facilities for world wide communications. October is considered too early. All consider it advisable and desirable to make a preliminary study of subjects to be discussed. Suggest that despatches might be sent to the four powers requesting meeting of representatives in Paris early in September to prepare a report [agenda] for later meeting and to be given authority to fix the date of meeting. Request authority be given Rear Admiral Bullard to represent Navy Department. [Commercial interests] should be represented and Rear Admiral Bullard will attempt to arrange to have proper commercial interests represented such as cable, telegraph, telephone, etc., and Colonel Truesdell here can represent War Department. Mr. Kolster now here can represent Commerce Department. State Department can authorize representative to attend.
This suggested Conference to have no executive or administrative powers but only to agree on certain topics for consideration of the meeting in Washington. Italy proposes Washington Conference [Page 109] should be clothed with powers to determine final status former German cables. Request instructions on this point. Polk.