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RADIO COMMUNICATION WITH FRANCE
File No. 811.74/130
The French Ambassador (Jusserand) to the Secretary of State
WASHINGTON, June 19, 1917.
MR. SECRETARY OF STATE: During the last few months the Government of the Republic has given its attention to providing a safe way of maintaining wireless communication between France and the United States.
The surtax laid upon telegraphic cables during the war, the possibility of their being occasionally or wilfully cut, the very great progress lately achieved in wireless communication, and finally the desire to bring the two countries into closer and more direct relations are the many reasons which led the Ministry of Commerce, Posts and Telegraphs, to consider the early building in France of a new station capable of transmitting to and receiving from the United States radiotelegraphic communications of every kind.
But before arriving at a final decision in this respect and with a view to the appropriation that must be asked of the Parliament, the French Government would like to receive from the American Government the assurance that there will be in the United States a station with which the new station can always communicate.
If the Federal Government should agree to coincide in these views, it would seem that arrangements might be made even now to settle the question of the manner of correspondence between the stations during the war and even to forecast the rules which after the war will govern the wireless communications between the two countries.
All the wireless telegraph stations in operation in the United States are at present under the control of the Federal Department of the Navy, which is the Department that will no doubt have to tell whether either of the stations at its disposal may be designated to communicate with the contemplated French station and state the hours that would be daily set apart for such communication. If such an assignment could not be made, my Government would desire to know whether a new special station could not be erected on American territory and what the conditions would be.
As for the period subsequent to the hostilities the Government of the Republic would attach great importance to knowing now, if possible, to what system of management the Federal Government intends to subject the use of wireless telegraphy within the territory of the Union.
In case the present system, which is tantamount to a Government monopoly, should be adhered to, the agreements made during the war could be continued as they stand and with the same force.
If on the contrary, in accordance with the traditions concerning the operation of telegraph, telephone and other systems, the United States should restore the former system of private operation by companies, it would be of great value to my Government to know under what conditions the new French station which the Ministry of Commerce proposes to create could continue to communicate with the United States. It would be particularly interesting to know whether, so far as it may be foreseen at this time, the companies operating on American territory would be placed under the obligation to correspond with none but stations also operated by companies, or allowed to correspond with Government stations.
By reason of the very high interest my Government takes in these questions and in the arrangements it will have to make in accordance with those that may be effected here, I should be very thankful to Your Excellency if you would kindly let me know, as soon as you find it possible, how the suggestions herein offered were received by the Federal authorities concerned.
Be pleased to accept [etc.]
File No. 811.74/133
The Acting Secretary of State to the French Ambassador
WASHINGTON, July 19, 1917. EXCELLENCY: Referring to your note of June 19, 1917, in which you make certain suggestions for providing a safe way of maintaining wireless communication between France and the United States, and to the Department's reply No. 1876, of June 30,1 stating that the substance thereof had been communicated to the Secretary of the Navy, I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that a reply has been received from the Secretary of the Navy, from which it appears that during the present war his Department is prepared to take up regular communication through the Sayville or Tuckerton station, and such high-power station in France as may be designated, and that arrangements have been completed for the exchange of official communications, which could be extended to include commercial traffic in case of need. The Secretary of the Navy states that his Department is in favor of regular direct commercial radio communication with France in times of peace but unless Congress acts favor
1 Not printed.
ably on on H. R. Document No. 2573,1 a copy of which is transmitted herewith for your information,2 his Department will not be in a position to insure this commercial communication when peace arrives. It is probable, however, that the bill named will be taken up with other general legislation later in this calendar year.
The Secretary of the Navy states further that should the necessary legislation be obtained, his Department would gladly make full arrangements with the French authorities in advance of the conclusion of peace, for the handling of commercial traffic, either through a station erected and operated by the French Government or through one operated by a private concern under its direct control, which commercial communication can be so arranged as not to interfere with the official dispatches of the Naval Communication Service.
The Secretary of the Navy states in conclusion that under the present laws, his Department could make no objection to the erection or use of a privately owned radio station anywhere in the United States, except in the immediate vicinities of certain specified Government stations, for communication with a Government or privately owned station in France; and that his Department would not be able to insure the maximum freedom from interference for the proposed international communication. Accept [etc.]
Navy Department Reference No. M.5. 12202
FRANK L. POLK
The Chief of the Navy Department Bureau of Steam Engineering (Griffin) to the Commander in Chief of United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters (Sims)
WASHINGTON, January 8, 1918.
Subject: High Power Radio Station-Southwest France
1. From a study of the correspondence and telegrams relative to the above subject, it appears that a certain amount of uncertainty exists in the minds of the various officials concerned attending the conference in France, as to what the exact intention of this Government is.
2. In so far as the Navy Department has been designated by the President to take charge of all radio communication during the war, it is the intention of this Department to furnish at as early a date as possible a complete high power radio station that will fulfill in every way the necessary requirements as indicated by communications received from the French Government.
3. All material excepting bricks, lumber, concrete, etc. is now being fabricated for a 1,000-KW duplicate arc installation, includ
165th Congress, 1st session.
2 Not printed.
ing a steam plant and turbo-generator as a standby prime mover (oil engines for this purpose are not obtainable). Eight (8) selfsupporting steel towers which weigh about 500 tons each, are being constructed and will be shipped as soon as fabricated. These towers will support an antenna of .05 capacity and an antenna current of from 500 to 700 amperes is guaranteed by the contractor, the Federal Telegraph Co., provided the antenna and ground resistance is not greater than 1.5 ohms.
4. During the erection of this station, engineers from the Navy Department will superintend the work and when the station is ready for commissioning, competent personnel will be furnished to run the station and "break in" any of the French operators that may be sent to assist in the operation of the taking over of the station.
5. The apparatus for this equipment is already about 20 per cent completed, and the contracts for the towers are being let. It is expected that all material will be on the ground by August 30, 1918, and that the station will be ready for commissioning soon afterwards.
6. Further information concerning the progress of this station will be forwarded from time to time. GRIFFIN
File No. 800.74/9
The Ambassador in France (Sharp) to the Secretary of State No. 5960
PARIS, January 18, 1918.
SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith, in copy and translation:
4. The protocol of a conference which took place on the 5th of January, 1918, between the American and French members of such Commission.1
I have [etc.]
WM. G. SHARP
Protocol of a Conference between the American and French Members of the Inter-Allied Radiotelegraphic Commission
PARIS, January 5, 1918.
The undersigned, members of the Franco-American Wireless Telegraph Commission, met on January 5 at 10 o'clock at the office of the United States Naval Attaché at 23 rue de la Paix, Paris.
'The Inter-Allied Radiotelegraphic Commission.
The following were present:
Naval Captain Evans and Naval Lieutenant Loftin of the United States, and Colonel Ferrié, Colonel Cartier, and Major Faucheur of France.
Colonel Cartier acted as secretary.
The Commission takes note of the following two cablegrams regarding the agreement of the American Navy to furnish and deliver in France the technical equipment and the towers of the new high-power station planned in the southwest of France.
The first cable is from the French High Commissioner at Washington:
The Navy Department transmits to us a summary of the letter of the President of the Council addressed to General Pershing concerning the construction of a high-power station in the region of Bordeaux. The American Navy agrees to deliver in France all the necessary equipment, including the towers. France will see to buying the land, constructing the necessary buildings, and fitting up the station. A cablegram confirming this agreement is being sent by the Navy Department to Admiral Sims.
The second cable is from Admiral Sims and is addressed to Naval Captain Jackson, Naval Staff representative at Paris:
Material for high power radio station for southwest France now being constructed by Navy, including two arc motor[s] input of each 1,200 kilowatts each to radiate over 550 amperes for suitable antenna 8 self-supporting towers over 800 feet high. Navy will deliver in France and if desired will erect same.-Sims.
The Commission likewise takes note of a declaration made by General Russel on behalf of General Pershing regarding the necessity of reducing to a minimum the weight to be transported from America to France, on account of the scarcity of available tonnage.
NAVAL CAPTAIN EVANS
File No. 811.7451/
The Secretary of the Navy (Daniels) to the Secretary of State
WASHINGTON, November 24, 1919.
[Received November 26.]
SIR: During the war, the Navy Department undertook to cooperate with the French Government in the erection of a high power