811.7441 Amateur/2

The Ambassador in Great Britain ( Bingham ) to the Secretary of State

No. 709

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s instruction No. 206 of January 19, 1934,17 directing me to enquire whether the British Government would be willing to make an agreement by an exchange of notes with the United States Government to permit the international exchange of radio messages by amateur stations on behalf of third parties.

A note in the sense of the Department’s instruction under reference was at once addressed to the Foreign Office, and I am now in receipt of a reply, a copy of which is enclosed herewith, stating that His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom does not see its way clear to enter into such an arrangement. The note adds that the Foreign Office will communicate with the Embassy further in due course with regard to the attitude of His Majesty’s Governments in [Page 777] Australia and New Zealand, and the Government of India, to this proposal.

The Embassy will not fail to inform the Department of anything which it may receive in this relation.

Respectfully yours,

For the Ambassador:
Ray Atherton

Counselor of Embassy

The British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs ( Simon ) to the American Ambassador ( Bingham )

No. W4111/118/50

Your Excellency: With reference to Mr. Atherton’s Note No. 331 of the 17th February last regarding the licensing of third party messages by amateur wireless transmitting stations under the International Radiocommunication Convention of Madrid, 1932, I have the honour to lay before Your Excellency the following observations.

Before a license for an amateur transmitting station in this country is issued, the owner is required to produce satisfactory evidence that the station is to be used for the purpose of pursuing experiments of scientific value; and it is only for this object that the station is authorised. In view of the congested state of the ether it is considered important that all unnecessary wireless signalling should be avoided. Moreover it is undesirable that those companies which conduct regular cable or wireless services with other countries should be exposed to loss of revenue by the use of amateur stations for messages of third parties.
His Majesty’s Government feel that it would be extremely difficult to say whether any private message sent by an amateur for a third party (for example, a birthday greeting, or a message concerning a birth, marriage or death) would or would not “normally be sent by any existing means of electrical communication.” It would be difficult and expensive to keep any effective check on transmission, and there would be a strong temptation to amateurs to transmit on behalf of interested persons messages or important items of commercial information, prices, sporting results, or other news.
It was for these reasons that the Madrid Conference inserted in the international regulations the provision:

“Il est absolument interdit aux titulaires des stations d’amateur de transmettre des communications internationales émanant de tierces personnes.”

His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom while anxious to afford all necessary facilities for genuine experimental wireless work, [Page 778] regret that they must adhere to the view that this provision is sound, and that so far as amateur wireless stations in this country are concerned, they do not see their way to enter into an arrangement such as that suggested by the United States Government.
I shall have the honour to address you further in due course with regard to the attitude of His Majesty’s Governments in Australia and New Zealand, and of the Government of India to this proposal.19

I have [etc.]

(For the Secretary of State)
P. Leigh-Smith
  1. See footnote 5, p. 766.
  2. The negative attitude of the Indian, New Zealand, and Australian Governments was indicated by notes of June 1, August 4, and September 14 to the American Ambassador.