821.73/34: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Colombia (Piles)

13. Your despatch 140, March 19, 1923. By telegram February 6, 5 p.m., 1922,87 Department informed Legation of plan of mutual surrender of exclusive privileges in South America by All America Cables and Western Telegraph Company. In that telegram resolution of waiver adopted by All America was quoted and Legation was informed that Western Telegraph had adopted corresponding resolution. These resolutions were to be presented by local representatives of companies to governments concerned, with petitions that governments indicate their acquiescence in waivers. It is understood that this was done by representative of All America in Colombia.

On March 9, 1922, Minister of Government addressed note to Legation88 quoting a resolution issued by Ministry in response to petition of All America Cables. American Minister acknowledged note as informing him of concurrence of Government of Colombia in petition of company to acquiesce in waiver.

By Department’s telegram of August 25, 6 p.m.89 Legation was informed that President had signed license authorizing Western Union Company to land cable at Miami; that granting of license was conditioned on waivers by both cable companies of exclusive privileges in South America; and that license was granted after satisfactory expressions had been obtained from all governments concerned regarding waivers of cable companies, which were in terms effective upon acquiescence by governments. Legation was directed to convey to Colombian Government expression of appreciation of sympathetic consideration accorded in the matter by Government of Colombia.

In these circumstances the Government of the United States has regarded the action of All America Cables in presenting waiver and petitioning for acquiescence as sufficient on part of company and has regarded resolution of Ministry of Government as indicating acquiescence of Colombian Government rendering waiver effective.

Please communicate with Colombian Foreign Office in accordance with foregoing emphasizing that resolution of waiver required only acquiescence and not formal agreement by Colombian Government and expressing the hope that inasmuch as All America Cables petitioned [Page 289] the Government to acquiesce in company’s waiver and Colombian Government in resolution of March 3 declared that company might make renunciation and American Minister in his note of March 13 to Minister of Government90 referred to the action taken by Colombian Government as concurrence in company’s waiver and subsequently conveyed tot Colombian Government expression of appreciation of sympathetic consideration given matter by Colombian Government and since the United States has acted up to this time on the understanding that Colombian Government had acquiesced, All America Cables may be regarded by Government of Colombia as having waived its exclusive rights in Colombia, Telegraph result.

[Paraphrase.] Department is astonished that any question should be raised on effectiveness of waiver of All America Cables in Colombia and thinks it unfortunate that this has occurred. Alleged incompleteness of waiver is being used by British Government against United States Government in discussions on opposition of British Government to applications of American cable companies for concessions to land cables in the Azores. Take no further action without consulting the Department. [End paraphrase.]

  1. Foreign Relations, 1922, vol. i, p. 521, footnote 42.
  2. See telegram no. 15, Mar. 11, 1922, from the Minister in Colombia, ibid., p. 525.
  3. See ibid., p. 537, footnote 66.
  4. Not printed.