The British Ambassador ( Howard ) to the Secretary of State

No. 542

Sir: With reference to my note No. 302 of May 2nd last, informing you that His Majesty’s Government considered that the Yap–Menado cable should be handed over at once to the Netherlands Government, I have the honour to draw attention to recent conversations between Mr. Vallance of the Legal Division of the State Department and Mr. Wright, then Resident Secretary at Washington, in which Mr. Vallance stated that it might be necessary to embody the assent of the United States Government to transfer the cable in question in a draft treaty to be submitted to the United States Senate for approval. I duly brought Mr. Vallance’s remarks on this head to the attention of His Britannic Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs who now informs me that in the event of the United States Government considering that their assent to the said transfer requires embodiment in treaty form His Majesty’s Government [Page 282] presume that such a treaty would be a bi-lateral one as between the United States Government and the Netherlands Government.

Furthermore, Mr. Vallance gave Mr. Wright to understand that the United States Government were contemplating a proposal whereby a meeting of delegates of all the Governments concerned should, if possible, be held prior to the forthcoming Radiotelegraph Conference12 to discuss the question of the allocation of the ex-German cables as a whole. In this connection, Secretary Sir Austen Chamberlain has instructed me to inform you that His Majesty’s Government are prepared to appoint a delegate at such a meeting on any date that may be fixed. If however the meeting in question cannot be held within the next three weeks His Majesty’s Government consider it essential that steps should be taken to effect the separate transfer of the Yap–Menado cable to the Netherlands Government as soon as possible. In any event, His Majesty’s Government having on repeated occasions expressed their acquiescence in the transfer of the Yap–Menado cable to Holland are not prepared to accept responsibility for any claim on the part of the Netherlands Government in respect of delay in the transfer.

I have [etc.]

Esme Howard
  1. For text of the convention signed at the Conference, see vol. i, p. 288.