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

No. 66

Sir: The Department has received your despatch No. 51, of July 28, 1921, relative to the applications of the Western Union and Commercial Cable Companies for permission to open offices in France so that they can deal directly with the people, and encloses herewith, for your consideration, a copy of a letter dated August 22, 1921,43 received by the Department from the President of the Commercial Cable Company, dealing with this matter.

Reference is made to the last paragraph of your despatch of July 28, 1921, in which you stated that you believed that the French reply which you expected to receive at an early date would not be unfavorable, but would be something in the nature of a compromise whereby the American companies would be given permission to open offices under the auspices of the Telegraph Administration, provided officials of the Post Telegraph and Telephone Services were employed for handling, but not for sending the messages.

You will please report whether you have received a reply from the Foreign Office, and if you have not received a reply, you are requested to urge the Foreign Office to expedite its decision in this matter.

As regards the statements in the letter of August 22, 1921, from the Commercial Cable Company regarding the discrimination which is said to exist in favor of French cable and wireless companies in the sending of messages, you will please ascertain whether these statements are true and, if so, you will discreetly bring this discrimination to the attention of the Foreign Office, pointing out that American companies object to the further extension to the French Cable Company of the privilege of opening offices and dealing directly with the public in the United States on equal terms with the American companies, so long as this discrimination against American cable companies is practiced by France.

The “Kellogg Bill”, referred to in the last paragraph of the letter of the Commercial Cable Company, is the Act of Congress approved May 27, 1921, two copies of which were forwarded to you with the Department’s instruction No. 896 of July 11, 1921.43

For your personal information and guidance attention is invited to the fact that the Act of Congress approved May 27, 1921,44 provides for the regulation of the landing and operation of submarine cables in the United States. The Department is considering what steps it should take under the provisions of this Act with a view to [Page 158] terminating the privileges enjoyed by the French Cable Company of opening offices and dealing directly with the public on American territory, in case the French authorities decline to grant reciprocal treatment to American cable companies operating in France.

Please forward to the Department a report regarding the matter as promptly as possible.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Robert Woods Bliss
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  3. 42 Stat. 8.