811.91245/7a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant)

2009. United Press since December 1941 has been endeavoring—so far without success—to lease teletype telegraphic lines from the Posts and Telegraphs Department of the Government of India to serve prospective clients in India who include some of the principal newspapers in that country. On the other hand, Reuters leases such facilities thus creating a monopoly in favor of Reuters because of the fact that without the use of such leased wires it is impossible for United Press to supply a satisfactory news report to the newspapers of India. Should United Press transmit its service over telegraph lines open to the general public, it would mean that the UP service always would arrive at the newspapers at least 24 hours after the Reuters service had been delivered by leased wire.

The UP’s request for such facilities has been denied on the ground that the present heavy demands on the telegraphic system for war purposes render it impossible to make any such wires available to the UP. UP believes that the wire facilities are available in India for lease to it, and it states that it is prepared to furnish the automatic typewriters over which the service would move if the Indian Government will agree to lease it the necessary wire facilities. In this connection it should be noted that Lend Lease has just received a request for 35,000 miles of wires for telegraph and telephone facilities in India. As a last resort the UP suggests that if the Government of [Page 290] India cannot be prevailed upon to provide the desired telegraph facilities it be allowed to lease a wireless circuit from Bombay to the interior points of India over which the UP could transmit its service to the principal newspapers of India. The UP in the latter circumstances would supply the necessary transmitter in Bombay and the necessary reception equipment in the other cities of India.

The UP feels, and we agree with it, that its request for wire facilities in India is only fair since Reuters is granted the fullest opportunity to sell and distribute its news service throughout the United States on the basis of the enjoyment of complete equality with the American news services in the use of all telegraph and other facilities, and in the terms and conditions therefor. The Department has ascertained from the A. T. & T.62 that the company leases a number of teletype private wires to Reuters in this country.

I wish you would bring this matter personally to the attention of the Foreign Office and stress the fact that we attach a great deal of importance to it. We feel strongly that, in view of the fact that although we have not considered the principle of reciprocity in this respect as regards United Kingdom, British news agencies in the United States and its territories are placed on the same basis as American news services and in view of the highly desirable objective that there should be the freest possible interchange of information between the United States and the British Commonwealth of Nations, it is absolutely essential that American news services should be accorded the same facilities in these countries that are accorded to British news services in this country.

Please inform the Foreign Office that we shall not rest content until some solution is found to this problem and we confidently leave to you the best method of reaching this objective. Please telegraph Department the result of your intervention in this matter.

For your information, should the Foreign Office suggest that representations on the subject should properly be made to the Government of India by the American Mission at New Delhi, representations already made in that manner have thus far met with no favorable response.

  1. American Telephone and Telegraph Company.