811.7353b W 52/187: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Portugal (Bearing)


46. Your telegram 86 of December 19. Your first paragraph. The Department is gratified that British Minister to Portugal has been instructed to withdraw his opposition to the application of the Western Union. The British Government, however, has not replied to our last note protesting against its attitude. The Department has not changed its attitude as presented in its correspondence with the British Government.

Second paragraph of your telegram. It is Department’s understanding that the Commercial Cable Company will continue its present efforts to have the 1913 concession revived. The Department’s assistance has not been asked by the company. If present efforts fail, however, it is presumed that the company would ask the assistance of the Department in an effort to secure the direct provisional concession.

As you will remember, both American companies asked for assistance from the Department in obtaining direct concessions. Later the Commercial Cable Company tried to meet its needs by a duplication of cables under the 1899 concession and obtained Sir John Pender’s aid in its present effort to have the 1913 concession revived. Our telegram 18, May 21, 6 p.m.,98 advised you of the Department’s attitude. Before the Western Union made its June offer to Pender it asked whether the Department objected. In replying, through the Embassy in London, the Department stated that it would not offer objections to the proposed agreement; that it had been the wish of the Department to obtain for the American cable companies a position in the Azores no less favorable than the British companies enjoyed, but that if it was the wish of American companies to accept less they were free to do so. In that case, however, they must assume responsibility for their actions and take the consequences.

It is presumed that withdrawal of British opposition will lead to favorable action soon with respect to the Western Union’s direct concession. The Commercial Cable Company has not asked the Department to aid it in having the 1913 concession revived.

It would seem wise under these circumstances for the Legation to take no action regarding the application of either company unless [Page 306] the company requests it and in that case only after consideration by the Department and instructions from it.

The above is strictly confidential for your guidance.

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