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Senator Dill. Have you also something else there that you want to present?
Mr. Shoup. I also have a photostatic copy of the communications map of the world, published by the Georgaphic Office of the Navy Department. Unfortunately it has been reduced in size and therefore is pretty difficult to read. But is is an excellent map and was revised only in April of this year. It is in three sections, and I will leave them for reference or whatever use you wish to make of them.
The Chairman. You may furnish them to the committee reporter and we will go over them and decide.
Mr. Shoup. All right. I now hand them to the committee reporter.
(The three sections of a communications map of the world published by the geographic office of the Navy Department, was furnished by Mr. Shoup and filed with the clerk to the committee.)
The CHAIRMAN. You may go on with your statement.
Mr. SHOUP. The era of submarine telegraphy dawned with the early attempts to lay a cable across the English Channel between Dover and Calais, the first of which occurred in August, 1850. It was not a success because the cable was broken by the trawls of a fisherman, but in September, 1851, a cable was successfully laid and opened to the public in the following November.
The success attained with the English Channel cable stimulated the establishment of other cables during the next few years. For the most part, however, they connected countries separated only by small bodies of water of comparatively shallow depth. But the greatest task, that of spanning the Atlantic, remained to challenge the efforts of man.
The CHAIRMAN. Just how much of an historical nature have you there? I was wondering whether it was necessary for you to read all of it.
Mr. Shoup. I have 10 pages here. It is primarily to show you the situation.
The CHAIRMAN. Would the committee agree that he might put that historical matter in the record and then let him go on with the rest?
Mr. Shoup. It is perfectly satisfactory to me.
The CHAIRMAN. You may put that into the record as you have it prepared, and then go on with the balance of your statement.
Mr. SHOUP. Very well, Mr. Chairman. The present network of 21 cables across the North Atlantic constitute a monument to the indomitable courage and perseverance of Cyrus W. Field, the American, who gave so liberally of his time and money to the enterprise. Field became interested in submarine telegraphy about 1852 at the time the Newfoundland Electric Telegraph Co. was endeavoring to connect New York with St. Johns, where it was proposed to connect with a line of steamers, thereby reducing the time in communication with Europe. Field, however, was not interested in the project from the standpoint of shortening time between Europe and America by boat connections. sulting such experts as Professor Morse and others, he and his associates took over the defunct Newfoundland company and obtained a new charter in the name of the New York, Newfoundland & London Telegraph Co. The entire capital of $1,500,000 was subscribed ly Field and his associates. In July, 1856, after many disappointments and hardships, telegraphic communication was established between Newfoundland and New York, a distance of about 1,700 miles. The undertaking represented an outlay of nearly $1,000,000, of which Field contributed over $200,000.
Field went to England in the summer of 1856, empowered to receive subscriptions in the name of his company, or to organize a new company. There was considerable doubt in the minds of many of the scientific men in Great Britain whether it would be possible to transmit and receive messages over such a great distance under the Atlantic. Various tests and experiments were conducted by British engineers and Professor Morse, who was then in London, which appeared to remove all doubt as to the possibility of transmitting signals over such distances.
Officials of the British Government were somewhat astounded at the magnitude of the plan for linking the two continents by telegraph, as proposed by Field, but at the same time they were greatly interested in the matter. There was accordingly organized in London on December 9, 1856, the Atlantic Telegraph Co., the necessary capital of £350,000 $1,700,000) being subscribed in a few days, by the issue of 350 shares of £1,000 each. To meet additional expenses, the capital was increased to £465,000 the following year. The board of directors comprised some of the leading industrial, financial, and scientific men in England.
In the meantime several surveys of the ocean's floor had been made by both American and British naval officers. The famous telegraph plateau in the North Atlantic, some 400 miles in breadth, was so christened by Lieutenant Maury, United States Navy.
The summer of 1857 witnessed the initial endeavor to lay the first Atlantic cable, but after 335 miles had been laid the cable broke and the expedition returned to England. An unsuccessful attempt was made in June, 1858, followed by another the following month, which met with partial success. This cable, stretching from Trinity Bay in Newfoundland to Valentia, Ireland, was landed August 5, 1858, and the signals sent throughout its entire length were said to be perfect. Defects soon appeared, however, and on September 1, 1858, signals became unintelligible, although a few words were transmitted up to October 20, when communication entirely failed. Most of the messages transmitted were of a service nature, so that the cable was really never opened to public service. The outstanding achievement of the cable, however, and one that served to prove the great value and utility of telegraphic communication between the two continents, was the message sent from London to the Canadian Government canceling the departure of two regiments of troops for India, which resulted in a saving to the British Government of nearly $250,000.
The temporary success of this cable was hailed with great rejoicing. Its eventual failure, however, considerably lessened public confidence in the enterprise and served, for a time at least, to retard a renewal of the attempt. In fact, there were many on both sides of the Atlantic who doubted whether messages had actually been transmitted over the cable as claimed. The years immediately following the failurɔ of 1858 were years of intensive research and preparation for the success which was later to crown their efforts.
The company needed additional capital and again appealed to the British Government, which increased the subsidy from £14,000 to £20,000 on condition that the cable should work. The Atlantic failures, coupled with that of the Red Sea telegraph, represented losses of over $5,000,000, which prompted the British Government, in 1859, to appoint a committee of eminent scientific men to investigate all phases of submarine telegraphy. Its findings may be summed up by the statement that if a cable were manufactured and laid with the most improved machinery available it possessed every prospect of being successful. Efforts to raise additional capital met with only partial success and by 1864 only £285,000 of the required £600,000 had been subscribed.
Then occurred an event of great importance. In April, 1864, the Gutta-Percha Co. and Messrs. Glass, Elliot & Co., consolidated, forming the Telegraph Construction & Maintenance Co. (I might add right here, that according to one of the leading British cable authorities, the Telegraph Construction & Maintenance Co. has probably laid about 9 per cent of the world's cables.) The newly formed company offered to take the balance of the capital and undertook the entire task of manufacturing and laying the cable. To overcome financial difficulties the Anglo-American Telegraph Co. was organized, the Atlantic Co. being later amalgamated with it.
The next attempt to lay a cable across the Atlantic was in 1865, which met with failure when the cable broke after 1,200 miles had been paid out. Finally, on July 27, 1866, success was achieved, when the cable was landed at Hearts Content, Newfoundland. Not only was this expedition successful, but the Great Eastern, which laid the cable, returned to mid-Atlantic and on the thirtieth attempt raised the cable that had parted in 1865 and landed it in Newfoundland on September 7, 1866.
And so runs the story, briefly, of the early history of laying a cable across the Atlantic. The many attempts to span the Atlantic, and the zeal with which other cables were laid following the final success saw a highly specialized cable industry in England. Great Britain was quick to realize the importance of the new method of communication and was willing to furnish the necessary funds. On the other hand, it was exceedingly difficult to raise money in this country, where capital was needed for domestic enterprises and the vast majority of the people were unwilling to invest in an enterprise entailing so great an amount of risk as that involved in submarine telegraphy. It also is worthy of note that many of the early British cable schemes were promoted by firms engaged in the manufacture of cables.
Another reason for England's leadership in the manufacture and laying of cables is gutta-percha. First brought to England about 1843, its remarkable insulating properties were not discovered until around 1848. It deteriorates rapidly when exposed to air, but its insulating qualities improve when submerged under water. The supply was seriously depleted and some years ago the Telegraph Construction & Maintenance Co. established a subsidiary in the Malay States for the production of gutta-percha. The New York price on April 25 for the best grade was $3 a pound, advancifig to that figure from $2.25 the previous month. The amount of gutta-percha required varies with each cable, but the average is probably around
300 pounds per nautical mile, only the best grade being used in cable manufacture.
Now we come to British radio.
Senator Dill. Just a moment: Can you tell us in two or three sentences what the history of cables shows? You started to give us all of the details. But I should just like to know it in a word if I may
Mr. Shoup. It shows primarily that although the dominating personality, so to speak, in the early attempts to lay a cable across the Atlantic was an American, Cyrus W. Field, yet they were laid by British capital. After the early first attempt, which was successful, to lay an Atlantic cable, of course there were many companies projected, principally by the British, in other parts of the world.
Senator Dill. Does this history show how the British came to get such a complete control of the cables of the world?
Mr. Shoup. Well, partly so. But the history I give you really just goes up to the end of the Atlantic attempts. The British cable companies, that is, the manufacturing companies, in many cases promoted cable companies themselves, to keep their plants occupied and so forth, probably. There were quite a few instances of that.
Senator Dill. I just wanted to get a general idea of the situation as we went along.
Senator WHEELER. I assume they took the lead in cables because of their commercial enterprises, their shipping enterprises all over the world. It was more important to them at that time than to any other nation of the world.
Mr. Shoup. Yes; and in this country capital was needed most for our domestic enterprises. Cable enterprises were at that time considered very risky. Then of course the matter of gutta-percha might be another reason for the English leadership.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. You may proceed with your statement.
Mr. Shoup. The British wireless telegraphy act of 1904 provides that radio be controlled by the State, under the supervision of the Postmaster General, by whose authority licenses are granted, inspections made, and so forth.
As early as 1910 the British discussed plans for linking the Empire by wireless. In March of that year the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co. applied for licenses to erect radio 18 stations within the Empire, but the Government denied them because it felt that a program of such scope should be in the hands of the Government. This policy on the part of the British Government was reaffirmed in 1911, and in April of that year the Marconi Co. submitted another proposal for the construction of State-owned stations. The British Government subsequently appointed a committee which recommended the crestion of a chain of stations for Empire communication.
In July, 1912, the Government concluded an agreement with the Marconi Co. for the erection of six high-power stations, but a revised agreement was concluded in July, 1913. It provided for the erection of six high-power stations in various parts of the Empire, namely, England, Egypt, East Africa, India, Singapore, and South Africa. The agreement was for 28 years; however, it could be terminated after 18 years. The stations were to cost about $290,000 each and a transmission speed of 75 words per minute was guaranteed. The war caused the Government to cancel the contract with the Marconi Co., at which time the masts of the English and Egyptian stations were virtually completed and material had been delivered for the Egyptian station, and it was not until toward the end of 1919 that work on the stations in England and Egypt was resumed.
The CHAIRMAN. What is your interpretation of the high-power stations there?
Mr. Shoup. Well, the early attempts by England were probably a little bit in advance of the times. Those, of course, were long wave stations or low frequency stations. They had a maximum power up to around 200 kilowatts, I would say.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. You may go on.
Mr. SHOUP. The Marconi Co. had been advocating direet communication from England to India, Australia, and South Africa, but the Norman committee, which was appointed in November, 1919, to prepare a scheme for imperial radio communication, rejected the proposal for direct communication and recommended the establishment of relay stations about 2,000 miles apart for communication with Egypt, India, the Far East and Australia on one hand, and with East and South Africa on the other, and further recommended that the stations be owned and operated by the State. The estimated cost of the stations was placed at £1,243,000 (about $6,000,000). A technical committee was appointed to design the stations, select sites, and so forth.
The Government adopted the findings of the Norman report early in 1921, and it appeared that the plan for an imperial wireless chain was about to materalize. But the Dominions were of the opinion that direct communication was the most feasible, and, apparently exasperated by the long delays in establishing an imperial wireless system, took independent action for the erection of their own stations capable of communicating direct with England.
As a result of the agitation in the Dominions, the British Government reconsidered the matter and in July, 1922, announced the acceptance of the Marconi proposals for direct communication.
The policy of radio being operated by the State was deviated from in 1923, when it was decided to permit private capital to enter the field of imperial communications and to allow competition in the service.
It was hoped that by allowing private capital to participate in the enterprise the completion of the proposed chain would be expedited, but the Marconi Co. and the Postmaster General could not reach a satisfactory agreement, and negotiations were deadlocked. At the end of 1923 the post office had only one station in England belonging to the empire system, that at Leafield, opened in 1922. In the hope of expediting matters the Government once more appointed a committee under the chairmanship of Sir Robert Donald, to investigate the question of imperial radio communication. It was the sixth committee appointed within the past 12 years to consider this subject. Its principal recommendations, made known in February, 1924, were to the effect that the state should own and operate all empire stations in Great Britain for communication with the Colonies, Dominions, and so forth, except in the case of Canada; that private enterprise be permitted to develop radio facilities for communication with foreign countries, and that certain existing stations be either modernized or removed from the empire system.