The British Ambassador ( Howard ) to the Assistant Secretary of State ( Wright )
[Received August 30.]
My Dear Mr. Wright: When I saw Mr. Harrison in Washington on August 21st, I touched, amongst other matters, upon the question of wireless in China with special reference to the so-called Federal Contract. I intimated in the course of our conversation65 that this contract was regarded with some apprehension by His Majesty’s Government as vitiating the principle of the “open door” in China, and Mr. Harrison expressed surprise that any such fears should be agitating [Page 1069] our minds. In the circumstances, permit me to invite reference to Mr. Chilton’s note No. 704 of July 22nd, 1925,66 which informed the United States Government that His Majesty’s Government were in general agreement with the Japanese proposals for a wireless consortium and which contained the following paragraph:
“In determining their attitude in this matter, His Majesty’s Government have been impressed by the fact that the difficulties now handicapping the development of wireless communications with China afford a striking illustration of the soundness of the general principles so ably championed by the United States Government in other spheres of foreign relations with that country. The essence of these principles consists in the eradication of international competition in China and the abstention of the foreign powers concerned from any attempt to seek special privileges for themselves and their nationals. His Majesty’s Government do not doubt that these considerations will also animate the policy of the United States Government in the present instance. At the same time, however, they view with a certain apprehension the possibility of practical application being given to the suggestion put forward by the United States representatives at the time of the Washington Conference that the conduct of wireless between the United States and China ought to be solely in the hands of a Sino-American enterprise. Whilst His Majesty’s Government for their part were prepared to accept the recommendations of the wireless experts when taken as a whole, they cannot but feel, in the light of the present difficulties, that the suggestion of the American representatives on this particular point would in practice militate against the above-mentioned principle of equality of opportunity and encourage the powers to claim from the Chinese Government a monopoly of the wireless traffic between themselves and China. Such action on the part of the powers would materially increase the difficulties of the situation and result in the infliction of a considerable injustice on China.”
Since the general contents of the Federal Contract will be well known to you, I think it is hardly necessary to say any more at present about our apprehensions over the possibility of a radio monopoly in China. There are, however, certain points in the Federal Company’s Agreement of September 19th, 1921,67 which I feel may have escaped the notice of the United States Government, and these I have outlined in the enclosed memorandum for your information.
In the light of this memorandum, you will realize that, if the Federal Contract is carried out, my Government may find themselves obliged, at the request of the British banks and bondholders interested, to take concerted action with the other Powers concerned for the protection of British interests in this matter.
Believe me [etc.]
- See memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State, Aug. 21, supra. ↩
- Foreign Relations, 1925, vol. i, p. 910.↩
- See despatch No. 37, Sept. 27, 1921, from the Minister in China, Foreign Relations, 1921, vol. i, p. 450; for text of agreement, see List of Contracts of American Nationals With the Chinese Government, etc., annex vni (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1925).↩
- See note to the French Ambassador, Foreign Relations, 1918, p. 193.↩
- Ibid., 1920, vol. i, p. 572.↩
- For text of agreement, see Foreign Relations, 1908, p. 204.↩