The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador ( Howard )

Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note No. 542 dated September 28, 1927, concerning the proposed allocation of the Yap–Menado cable to the Government of the Netherlands.

With respect to your observation with regard to the conclusion of a bi-lateral treaty between the United States and the Netherlands for the transfer of the interests of this Government in the Yap–Menado cable, it is suggested that the method by which title to the Yap–Menado cable should be transferred to the Netherlands may be left for later determination.

With reference to the suggested meeting of delegates of all the governments concerned for the purpose of discussing the question of the allocation of all ex-German cables, I am pleased to inform you that it appears from the records of this Department that the Governments of Italy and Japan have indicated their willingness to participate in a meeting for the discussion of this question. The Government of France, however, has not indicated its disposition in the matter. Accordingly steps are being taken with a view to obtaining a statement from the Government of France whether it would be prepared to attend a meeting of the First Committee of the Washington Conference of 1920, if and when this Government can make arrangements for the resumption of its meetings to consider the question of the allocation of all former German cables. It is hoped that it will be possible to arrange this meeting before the International Radiotelegraph Conference, now meeting in Washington, terminates its work, as it is considered possible that the governments concerned may desire to designate their representatives now attending the Radiotelegraph Conference to assist in the proposed Conference.

In a note dated July 1, 1927,15 the Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of France in Washington stated that the French Government did not find it possible favorably to entertain the request of the Netherlands Government that the sum of 2,388,671 marks gold be paid to that Government in lieu of the delivery of the Yap–Menado cable. It is added that the Government of France believes the only possible solution of the question is the delivery of the cable as a full settlement of the rights of the Netherlands nationals, and that it acquiesced in having the cable delivered immediately upon Germany agreeing not to have the value thereof credited to its reparation account.

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The Italian Ambassador at this capital informed this Department that the Italian point of view concerning the Yap–Menado cable is contained in his note dated February 13, 1926,16 wherein it is stated that the Royal Italian Government in confirming its acceptance in the main lines of the Fletcher plan, maintained its adhesion to the transfer of the Yap–Menado cable to the Netherlands, the cession to take place without further delay.

A further communication is being addressed to the Ambassador of Japan17 with a view to obtaining a more definite statement concerning the position of the Japanese Government with respect to the early transfer of the Yap–Menado cable to the Netherlands Government.

Upon the receipt of favorable replies from the French and Japanese Governments the necessary steps will be taken to bring about the formal transfer of the Yap–Menado cable and also to convene a meeting to discuss the question of the allocation of all former German cables.

Accept [etc.]

Frank B. Kellogg

[The Japanese Ambassador informed the Department on Nov. 11, 1927, that his Government was disposed, subject to certain conditions, to consent to temporary operation of the Yap–Menado cable by the Government of the Netherlands. On Nov. 12, 1927, the French Ambassador informed the Department that his Government was willing that the French delegates to the Radiotelegraph Conference should take part in a meeting of the first committee of the Preliminary Conference on Electrical Communications (Preliminary Conference held at Washington in 1920) to discuss the question of the allotment of the German cables.

In view of the failure of some of the Governments concerned to reach an agreement on points of difference, neither the proposal for the allocation of the Yap–Menado cable to the Netherlands nor any other proposal was ever adopted.]