576.E 1/36

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Mexico (Clark)1

No. 730

Sir: The International Radio Conference, which is to convene at Madrid September 3, 1932,2 will probably revise the International Radio Convention and Regulations signed in 19273 and give them a form which will remain unchanged for a number of years. Within the framework of the International Radio Convention it may be desirable for the interested Governments of North America to enter into regional agreements respecting the use to be made of certain frequencies.

Since radio experts of the several Governments will probably be in attendance at the Madrid Conference, it would appear to be convenient for them, at that time, to discuss the bases of a possible North American regional agreement on radio. The steps which it might be necessary to take after the Conference in order to conclude such an agreement could be determined after the results of the conversations at Madrid are made known to the respective Governments.

It is believed that representatives of the United States, Mexico, Cuba, Canada, and Newfoundland could profitably carry on conversations at Madrid which would include the use of broadcast frequencies and such other frequencies which, because of their transmission characteristics, may cause interference in North America but not in other parts of the world. An arrangement similar to that suggested but relating only to high frequencies was entered into in 1929 between the United States, Cuba, Canada, and Newfoundland. A copy of Treaty Series No. 777A containing the text of that arrangement is enclosed.4

[Page 584]

While the United States believes that the conversations should be confined to those countries which will be likely to create or to suffer from interference occasioned by frequencies of the type mentioned, it has no desire to limit participation to the United States, Mexico, Cuba, Canada, and Newfoundland if any of those countries believe that others should be included.

Please present the matter to the Government of Mexico, requesting its views as to the desirability of holding such conversations, and as to the Governments whose representatives should participate in them. State that similar inquiries are being made of the other Governments mentioned.

Should the Government of Mexico favor the holding of such conversations, it is suggested that the names of its representatives be sent to the Department as soon as convenient. The Department will inform you of the replies of the other interested Governments as soon as they are received and will send you the names of the American representatives when it is apparent that the holding of the suggested conversations is favored by the Governments to which the matter has been broached.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Francis White

[Editor’s Note. A despatch of August 9, from the Consul General at St. John’s reported that Newfoundland was “interested in the matter” but, because the Dominion possessed “no official expert in radio matters”, the Government was “not in a position to cooperate in a practical manner” (576.E 1/46). The Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs, in a note of August 17, advised the Minister in Canada that “the Canadian competent authorities also believe that representatives of the countries concerned could profitably carry on conversations at Madrid as proposed” (576.E 1/49). Mexico’s willingness to participate in such a conference was reported by the Ambassador in Mexico in his despatch No. 1776 of August 19 576.E 1/51). The Cuban Foreign Office advised the American Embassy in Habana that a Cuban delegate had “been authorized to take part in conversations at Radio Conference” (576.E 1/63).

At the Madrid Radiotelegraph Conference, the American, Canadian, Cuban and Mexican delegates agreed that regional arrangements under the new convention should be considered at a North American Radio Conference to be held at Habana in April, 1933 (576.E 1/86). Subsequently, for “reasons not stated” the Cuban Government intimated that it did not favor the holding of a Conference at Habana [Page 585] (576.E 1/95). Prior to adjournment of the Conference at Madrid, the Mexican delegation, upon instructions from the Ministry of Communications and Public Works, suggested the holding of the Conference in Mexico City (576.E 1/103, 104). This proposal was acceptable to the interested Governments.]

  1. The same, mutatis mutandis, July 20, to the Minister in Canada, the Ambassador in Cuba, and the Consul General at St. John’s, Newfoundland.
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1932, vol. i, pp. 865 ff.
  3. For text of this convention, signed at Washington, November 25, 1927, see ibid., 1927, vol. i, p. 288. For text of the general regulations and appendixes to the convention, and for text of supplementary regulations (not signed by the United States), see Executive Document B, 70th Cong., 1st sess., pp. 1175; or Department of State Treaty Series No. 767; or 45 Stat. 2760.
  4. Except for appendixes and a chart, the text of the arrangement, effected by exchange of notes signed February 26 and 28, 1929, is printed in Foreign Relations, 1929, vol. i, pp. 693697.