811.7353b W 52/114: Telegram

The Chargé in Great Britain (Wheeler) to the Secretary of State

181. I had a conversation with Sperling on the 22nd. He had not seen the Embassy’s note based on your 111, May 17, 11 a.m. which was delivered on the 19th. He stated that the opposition of the British Government to the Western Union application “was still in force and would continue to be in use.” While it was clear from his conversation that underlying this attitude was a belief that unfriendliness was shown by the United States in the Miami incident in the passage of a retroactive act prohibiting the landing after license therefor had been granted by the War Department, he stated that the legal principle for which the British Government was contending was that the companies concerned should enjoy entire freedom of the right to contract. The free negotiation referred to in the last paragraph of the Foreign Office note of April 18th would appear to mean that the United States will assure the Western Union that a landing license in the United States will be granted whatever arrangement the company comes to with the Western relative to the passage of South American traffic through the Azores.

Kerr93 is consulting with Mr. Goddard this afternoon as to the advisability raising the case in Parliament next week, which he believes could not make the opposition in Lisbon stronger and would probably considerably embarrass that opposition.

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Mr. Kerr considers that the chances are good for the granting of the Portuguese license in spite of the British opposition but he is greatly worried by the news that it is likely to continue.

  1. Frederick Kerr, agent of the Western Union Telegraph Co.