811.7461/30: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union ( Harriman )

384. The question of slow radio communications between the United States and the USSR to which you referred in your number 335 of February 1 was brought to the attention of the Federal Communications Commission from whom a reply has now been received,14 the pertinent portions of which are quoted hereunder:

“This is a matter of serious concern to the Commission and the steps taken by the Soviet Union in this regard are deeply appreciated.

For some time the Commission has had this matter of providing good service over this inherently difficult path under discussion with engineers of Mackay Radio and Telegraph Company, Press Wireless, Inc., and EGA15 Communications, Inc., which are operating direct radiotelegraph circuits to Moscow and many improvements have been made on the United States end. As a matter of fact, the Mackay Radio and Telegraph Company is making still more tests with a view to improve the efficiency of its directional antennas which are used on the Moscow circuit. Highly directional antennas and high power transmitters of approximately 40 kw are presently in use. Past experience indicates that further improvement in antennas and higher power would only be helpful to a small degree during the marginal period when signals begin ‘coming in’ or ‘going out’. When transmission conditions are poor, an increase in effective radiated power over this circuit path would result in very little additional improvement.

The operating personnel of the companies involved feel that some improved service between New York and Moscow could be accomplished by making every effort to keep the frequencies used interference-clear by the respective governments. For instance, the United States companies are frequently asked to change frequency by Moscow and then it is found that Moscow itself is transmitting on the original frequency or one closely adjacent to it. The United States Government is taking every possible precaution in this regard.

If these measures do not prove satisfactory, it may be necessary to give consideration to relaying Moscow traffic over circuits which have more desirable paths, particularly during poor transmission periods, for example, Mackay via Algiers, Algeria; Press Wireless via Berne, Switzerland; and RCAC via Italy. Since Mackay operates the station in Algiers and RCAC operates the Italian station, it appears that such relay circuits are practical, although, at present, the facilities at these two points are limited. It may also be practical to relay via Cairo, Egypt. Before initiating any negotiations looking forward to the establishment of these relay points, however, it would appear advisable to obtain the comments of the Soviet Union.”

[Page 947]

Please bring foregoing to attention USSR officials for their consideration and comment.

  1. Letter of February 17, 1944, from James Lawrence Fly, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, to the Secretary of State.
  2. Radio Corporation of America.