811.91245/9–2244: Airgram

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

A–1166. With reference to the subject of United States facilities in India (see the Embassy’s despatch No. 16,738 of July 8, 1944), we have now received a letter dated September 20 from the Foreign Office in the following sense:

“Would you kindly refer to the correspondence ending with my letter (7082/118/801) of the 6th July to Bucknell about facilities for the United Press in India?

You will recollect that at his meeting with Mr. Wallace Murray on the 22nd April, Sir David Monteath undertook that the India Office would apprise the Government of India of Mr. Wallace Murray’s representations and ask them to consider whether, for example, transmission over the India Posts and Telegraphs system of messages of the United Press could in any way be facilitated with a view to reducing to the absolute minimum, subject to Government requirements, the disadvantages now felt by the Agency.
The Government of India have re-examined the question, but while fully appreciating the position of the State Department, regret that it is impossible for them to grant the United Press any special facilities for the transmission of their messages in India. They repeat that their inability to accord special facilities is based on no ground of principle but on purely practical considerations. They have no wish to discriminate between one news-agency and another, or to interfere with legitimate commercial competition. As explained in the third paragraph of Le Rougetel’s29 letter to you of the 26th August, 1943, such facilities cannot be given solely because of the insufficient number of lines available at present. A number of new [Page 302] lines have been under construction for some time, and the hope had been entertained that it would become possible to afford certain facilities to the United Press of America and other Agencies operating in India when these were completed. Recently, however, the widening scale of operations in India occasioned by the creation of the South East Asia Command has again greatly increased the heavy burden on the telegraphic lines available in India, with the consequence that the new lines coming into operation will only suffice to absorb the extra traffic resulting from the increasing scale of operations in and near India. The Government of India, however, expect that these lines will bring some relief to the existing lines used for civil traffic, and in this expected relief the United Press will share, in the shape of a reduction of delays, along with the other news agencies concerned.”

  1. John H. Le Rougetel, Counsellor, British Foreign Office.