The British Senior Delegate to the Washington Conference on Communications (Brown) to the Acting Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Norman Davis: With reference to the suggestion that another meeting of the Heads of Delegates should be held this afternoon, it seems to me that the whole of the difficulty now lies between the United States on the one side and France and Japan on the other. As between Great Britain and the United States there is no difference. We even suggested, as you will remember, that the provisional settlement which we reached several weeks ago should be made definitive as between the two Governments, but you felt you could not agree to this except as part of a general settlement between all the Powers.

You will bear me witness, as indeed you did yesterday, that I have worked incessantly—now for several weeks—to promote a general settlement. I have proposed numerous schemes of compromise and endeavoured on all occasions to adjust the different points of view of your own and the other Delegations. This being so, I have with my colleagues keenly felt the injustice of the suggestions in the Press that Great Britain was banded with other Powers to prevent the allocation to the United States of a reasonable share in the ownership of the ex-German cables, or to prevent the restoration of the services which she enjoyed before the war, or to prevent her obtaining direct access to the countries of northern and central Europe—all of which suggestions are, as you know, false.

There has also been, as we pointed out last night, a surprising recrudescence of the suggestions that the British Government interfered with telegrams passing through Great Britain to and from the United States. These suggestions have been officially denied and, despite our repeated requests, no attempt at substantiation has been forthcoming. We have also felt keenly the injustice of this.

The démenti which you are kindly arranging to publish will we hope, put matters right; but as the outstanding differences about the ex-German cables are between the United States and France and Japan, I feel that there is less likelihood of public misunderstanding if I do not attend any more meetings for informal discussion of your [Page 143] difficulties with them unless your direct negotiations afford a reasonable prospect that the differences can be removed.

At the same time the British Delegation remains most eager, as it has always been, for a general settlement, and if you and the other Delegations think that by my presence I can be of assistance, my services are at your disposal.

I am [etc.]

F. J. Brown