The Ambassador in France ( Wallace ) to the Secretary of State

No. 1833

Sir: With reference to previous correspondence concerning the reciprocal rights of the United States for the use of the Lafayette Radio Station at Croix d’Hins, France, I have the honor to enclose, in copy and translation, a Note dated November 22, 1920, from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

This communication is in reply to informal representations made by the Embassy, at the suggestion of the Naval Attaché, that the French Government should authorize certain of its delegates to the Preliminary Communications Conference47 to discuss a reciprocity clause with the competent American authority.

I have [etc.]

Hugh C. Wallace
[Page 958]

The French Minister for Foreign Affairs ( Leygues ) to the American Ambassador ( Wallace )

Mr. Ambassador: You have been good enough to remind me recently of a communication from your Embassy, dated December 8, 1919, relative to the use by the United States of the Lafayette radio station for American official and commercial telegraphic correspondence.

This question, which has been examined with the greatest attention by the French Administration of Posts and Telegraphs, gives rise to the following observations:

The building of the Lafayette station was decided upon in 1917 by the American High Command in France as a war measure. Following the Armistice of November 11, 1918, the Lafayette station was turned over to the French Government. By the terms of the agreement of February 11, 1919,50 this Government was charged with all the expenses incurred by the United States for the construction of the station.
Radio communication is provided for in the United States by stations belonging to private companies. This condition has no exception save for the Navy station at Annapolis. But when this station discontinues the commercial traffic which it provisionally assures with the Doua (Lyon) station, the Lafayette station will no longer be able to communicate to the United States for commercial telegrams except through private stations.
In normal times telegrams of foreign states are subject to the regular rates on telegrams; the Administration is not able to make an exception to this rule.

Under reservation of the preceding observations, the French Administration is entirely willing to transmit, under ordinary conditions, the official telegrams of the United States and of France via Lafayette and Annapolis or to receive them from Annapolis, when the Lafayette station is placed in operation. The Government of the United States has only to make known definitely its desire; it does not seem necessary to add a clause to that effect in the contract which was entered into between the two Governments on February 11, 1919.

Please accept [etc.]

For the Minister and by authorization:
Maurice Herbette

The Minister Plenipotentiary
  1. For papers relating to this conference, see ibid., 1920, vol. i, pp. 107 ff.
  2. Supplied by the editor.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1918, supp. 2, p. 841.