The Chargé in the Netherlands (Wilson) to the Secretary of State

No. 321

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Legation’s despatch No. 310, of October 25, 1935, and the Department’s telegraphic instruction No. 50, of November 13, 5 pm, on the subject of the difficulties encountered by the United Press Associations in connection with the transmission of its news service to the Netherland East Indies over the Government radio system.

I have had a conversation with Jhr. Snouck Hurgronje, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on this subject and regret to have to report that it was not entirely satisfactory in view of the fact that he, like Mr. Lievegoed of the Press Service, seemed to take it for granted that the question was a domestic one between two Dutch companies. However, he did not deny that there was discrimination and he went so far as to say that he deplored the fact that Reuter was the only agency supplying world news to the East Indies. I pointed out to him that that angle of the question was important but that we were more concerned, in view of existing international agreements, with the categorical denial of the Ministry of the Interior to consider the question of granting equal treatment on rates to all companies. I did not specifically mention the Telecommunication Convention of 1932 but will do so at the first opportunity.

The most important point which developed during the conversation was that the Netherland Government, according to Jhr. Snouck’s statement, regard the Vereenigd Persbureau, which is now bound by contract with the United Press, with a certain amount of suspicion. The Secretary General said that they did not entirely like some of the newspapers which had joined in forming the new agency and that while they did not know where the money was coming from they were very busily trying to find out; he implied in fact that there was a possibility that Japanese propaganda funds might be behind the new group, entirely without the knowledge of the United Press.

Under the circumstances, it does not seem likely that we can expect to receive information or obtain any action satisfactory to the United Press Associations in the very near future. However, in view of the Department’s telegraphic instruction, which I was pleased to receive this morning, I will discuss the question again at the Foreign Office next week.

Respectfully yours,

Warden McK. Wilson