893.74/798: Telegram

The Minister in China (MacMurray) to the Secretary of State

1. The deputy general manager of British Marconi Company, A. H. Ginman, recently called on me to discuss the radio situation in [Page 556] China. He inquired whether I could confirm his understanding that last autumn the Radio Corporation of America had informed representatives of the British Marconi Company that, while the corporation was unwilling that British and French radio interests should complicate the proposed business discussion with Chinese and Japanese representatives by participation therein, the corporation nevertheless recognized in principle the equality of their interests in the radio situation in China and would be prepared to accept a settlement on that basis. Mr. Ginman said that he made this inquiry because, although certain authorities in the Peking Government were anxious that an adjustment be reached with the American and Japanese interests, making possible the constructive and systematic development of radio communications, there was also a group anxious to perpetuate lack of agreement among the foreign wireless interests, and the British Marconi Company and its subsidiary, the Chinese National Wireless Company, had been under considerable pressure from this latter group to supply a large beam radio station. He added that, if there was any prospect of an agreement between all the interests concerned which would give a fair position to the British wireless interests (which he now understood would be acceptable to the Radio Corporation), he was unwilling to be drawn into a continued destructive rivalry among the different national interests concerned.
I informed Ginman that, so far as I knew, the Radio Corporation was prepared to have the British and French interests represented by the Mitsui Company in the proposed business conference, but that I was not in a position to give any assurance as to the extent to which recognition would be accorded to such British and French companies.
He intimated that he suspected the Japanese might be trying to exclude British and French interests and that perhaps the British Marconi Company might better protect itself and reach a general constructive settlement of the issue if it were free to deal directly with the Radio Corporation. He explained that he understood the freedom of action of the Radio Corporation was circumscribed by certain requirements of the American Government.
In replying, I referred to the fact that the American Government had disapproved of a plan for wireless consortium on a monopolistic basis proposed by the Radio Corporation in 1921,33 but that the American Government did not then and does not now have any interest in the matter beyond desiring an assurance that there should be no monopoly created, and that there should be [Page 557] direct radio communication between the United States and China free from the intervention of any third party.
He expressed surprise and regret that the various interests concerned had not realized this simple position of the American Government, and stated that in view of it he saw no obstacle to cooperative action, since both the British and the French concerns would be content to forego all claims to monopoly, and he thought the cable interests with which the British and French concerns had a preliminary agreement would concur in this.
I asked Ginman why it would not be possible for the British Marconi Company to discuss the matter directly with the Radio Corporation. He replied that the Radio Corporation would have a better occasion for doing this if the position taken by the American Government were definitely made known to the other parties concerned. He asked whether I would be willing to state the attitude of the American Government as frankly to the British and Japanese Ministers if he brought about an informal meeting for the purpose. I replied that I did not feel at liberty to take any independent action regarding possible business arrangements, but that I would be willing to convey his suggestion to the Department and inquire whether, after consultation with the Radio Corporation, the Department wished me to act on it.
He stated that he would endeavor for the time being to postpone action with regard to the proposed beam radio station.