811.91245/32: Telegram

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

5650. Embassy’s 4969, July 30, 4 p.m. Following communication just been received from Foreign Office.

“The correspondence which has recently taken place between the Government of India on the one hand and the United Press and Mr. Phillips64 on the other has been made available to us, and I can assure you that His Majesty’s Government are satisfied that the Government of India have examined the possibilities very thoroughly and have not dealt or attempted to deal, with the request of the United Press for the lease of teletype telegraphic lines on a discriminatory basis and that their inability to make such lines available to the United Press has been wholly due to the pressure of war conditions.

Bearing in mind the present congestion of the Indian telegraph system, of the delays to which telegrams whether military or civil, private or press, are liable and the increasing demands on that system which the development of the war against Japan will probably impose, His Majesty’s Government feel bound to agree with the Government of India that the latter would not be justified in turning over for non-official use any of their own available equipment and civil requirements for the prosecution of the war effort of the United Nations in India. They therefore agree with the Government of India that the latter are in no position to consider the request of the United Press in regard to teleprinter circuits until their own needs, immediate and prospective, have been fully met.

As for the alternative proposal, that the United Press should be allowed to lease internal wireless circuits in India, the view of the Government of India, which His Majesty’s Government regard as valid, is that in the present war time conditions consideration of [Page 293] defense and military security preclude the transmission of news within India by wireless telegraph, since such transmissions are liable to interception by the enemy. It is moreover impossible to provide the large trained staff which would be required to pre-censor such messages.”

  1. William Phillips, Personal Representative of President Roosevelt in India (at this time temporarily in the United States); for correspondence on the Phillips Mission, see pp. 178 ff.