The British Ambassador (Howard) to the Secretary of State

No. 213

Sir: I have the honour to refer to your note No. 862i.73/64 [862i.73/80] of March 15th last, in the course of which you referred to a proposal on the part of the Netherlands Government that the claims of Dutch nationals in respect of the Yap cables should be met by a cash payment, and enquired what attitude His Majesty’s Government had adopted thereto.

I am now instructed to inform you that, in reply to a note addressed to them by the Netherlands Minister on January 24th last on this subject, His Majesty’s Government stated that the proposal that these claims should be satisfied by a cash payment is likely to give rise to insuperable difficulties, and that the only solution of the question on which general agreement between the Powers concerned is likely to be reached is that provisionally agreed to at the Washington Conference in 1922, namely that the Yap–Menado cable should be handed over to the Netherlands Government in full settlement of the claims in respect of Dutch interests in all three Yap cables.

His Majesty’s Government have furthermore pointed out to Mr. van Swinderen that the German Government in October 1925 expressed the desire that the transfer of the Yap–Menado cable should take place without delay, and that, so far as His Majesty’s Government are concerned, it is not desired to raise any objection to the immediate transfer of the cable provided that the French, Italian, Japanese and United States Governments concur in that course.

In bringing the foregoing information to your notice, I have the honour to add that His Majesty’s Government consider it very desirable that a solution of the question in the manner provisionally agreed at the Washington Conference in 1922 should be reached as soon as possible, and that having long since expressed their acquiescence in the immediate transfer of the Yap–Menado cable to Holland, they cannot be expected in any event to assume responsibility for [Page 280] any part of the pecuniary claim which the Netherlands Government have now put forward as a consequence of the delay in effecting such transfer.

In answer to your enquiry in the last paragraph of your note under reference, as to whether I would be prepared to attend a meeting of the First Committee of the Washington Conference of 1920, if and when the United States Government can make arrangements for the resumption of its meetings, I have the honour to invite reference to Mr. Chilton’s note No. 749 of August 18th, 1925,8 in which he informed you that His Majesty’s Government regarded it as desirable that the Committee should meet as soon as possible, and that they proposed to appoint me as their representative at the meetings which, so far as they were concerned, might take place at any date suitable to the convenience of the other interested governments.

I have [etc.]

Esme Howard
  1. Not printed.