« ZurückWeiter »
“Well, you had better say that if the regional distribution is accepted we shall not go on with the Canadian stations." That is a form of pressure which is being brought to bear on us now, and if I may speak quite freely, we have either got to give way to that pressure, in which case you have got a monopoly in the hands of the Marconi Company, or we have got to resist that pressure.
If the Marconi Company declare their policy to be that they will not put up stations in any part of the Empire unless they are given a free run throughout the Empire we shall know where we are, and we shall understand that nothing short of what would in practice, if not in form, be a monopoly, will satisfy them.
The Present offer to the Company.
Now, the offer which I have made to the Marconi Company, and which they have not yet refused, is that we will put up our Government station for communication with South Africa and Canada, and they can put up two stations for communication anywhere else in the Empire. They have not refused that. What they have been doing is to put pressure by propaganda upon all of you, because cach one of you has admitted, each one of you has said, that, while not influenced by it, attempts have been made to enlist your sylupathies and your advocacy on the side of the Marconi Company.
Mr. Bruce : Might I just interrupt? I must say, in fairness to the Marconi Company, that they have not tried to influence me. I sent for Mr. Godfrey Isaacs myself, and had about half-an-hour with him, and I sent for him again. They have not approached me.
Sir Laminy Worthington-Evans : The real point we have to consider is, are we prepared, or are we not, to give a virtual monopoly of wireless communication to one company. That is the question.
Mr. Massey: There can be only one answer to that question. It is in the negative.
Sir Laming Worthington-Evans : I know your answer, and I think I know Sir Patrick McGrath's answer from what he has said. He has had a peculiar experience of monopoly and litigation, and I ain sure he does not want to repeat it in wireless.
Government or Private Monoply alike Undesirable.
Now, I do not believe that this question is insoluble. I believe that the Marconi Company will recognise that either the pooling arrangement or the original allocation is a fair offer on the part of the Government and that a monopoly is out of the question. I believe that will happen. If it does not happen, the British Government will have to consider whether it should not put up further stations. That is the alternative. As we stand now, have a super-station going up with twelve masts. It may be that that station could be extended, or another station would have to be put up, but I do not want either a monopoly in a private firm or in the Government. I should prefer to see the two working
together; I believe there is a quite unknown, quite unrealised, almost unimagined, development still to come in wireless; and I want the two agencies, the Government service as well as the private enterprise, to combine for the purpose of securing for Great Britain and the Empire the very, very best service that can be got. After further discussion, Mr. Bruce proposed :
“ That this Imperial Economic Conference affirms the importance of establishing as quickly as possible an efficient linperial Service of Wireless Communication, and is of opinion that the several Governments of the Empire should take immediate action to remove any difficulties which are now delaying the accomplishment of this, while providing adequate safeguards against the subordination of public to private interests.'
This was carried unanimously.
CABLE AND WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS OF THE
Memorandum by the Post Office (I.E.C. (23)—7).
1.- GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF EXISTING CABLE ROUTES.
Two main sets of routes start out from Great Britain :(a) The trans-Atlantic routes, and
(b) The Eastern system of cables—which between them serve practically the whole of the British Empire.
(a.) Trans-Atlantic Routes.
There are fourteen cables between the British Isles and North America, some landing (this side) in the Irish Free State and the rest in Cornwall; and all landing on the other side in British territoryeither in Newfoundland or in Canada—though many of them are extended by shorter sections to the United States.
Two of these trans-Atlantic cables, the “Imperial Cables," are owned by the British Government. The other twelve cables are all worked, and most of them also owned, by American companies.
Both the Imperial Cables are worked direct between London and Halifax. They both land near Penzance (Cornwall); but they are laid by different routes, one having a relay station at Harbour Grace (Newfoundland), and the other at Fayal, in the Azores. (Further information concerning the Imperial Cables is furnished in Section II.)
Besides serving Newfoundland and Canada and forming a link in the westward route to Australia and New Zealand, the transAtlantic cables connect at Halifax with the cables of the Halifax and Bermuda and Direct West India Companies (two affiliated British companies), which provide an all-British route via Bermuda and Turks Island to Jamaica, where it joins the West India and Panamá Company's system. They also connect with the latter system through the medium of the United States land lines (owned and worked by American companies) and cables from Florida to Jamaica viâ Cuba.
These systems also serve British Guiana by wireless from Trinidad.
Australia and New Zealand are served by two routes : (1) by the Pacific Cable, which is owned and worked by the Pacific Cable Board (representing the British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Governments) and runs from Bamfield (Vancouver) to New Zealand and Australia viâ Fanning and Fiji, being connected with the Imperial Atlantic Cables by means of a landline between Halifax and Bamfield leased from the Canadian Pacific Railway; and (2) by the cables of the Eastern and Associated Companies.
(b.) Eastern System.
This important system is owned by the Eastern Telegraph Company and its Associated Companies. There are seven cables starting from Porthcurno (Cornwall), of which one lands in Spain, two in Portugal, two at Gibraltar, one at Madeira, and one at the Azores. The Iberian routes are extended through the Mediterranean viâ Malta to Egypt, and thence down the Red Sea to Aden. There they separate, one route running to East and South Africa (see below) and the other to India, Ceylon and Singapore, and thence viâ the Dutch East Indies to Australia and New Zealand.
The cable to Madeira forms the first link in a second chain to South Africa, which runs via St. Vincent, Ascension and St. Helena, with branches to the West African Colonies. From South Africa it is extended across the Indian Ocean, so as to form a second route to Australia.
The cable to the Azores serves South America (viâ St. Vincent and Ascension).
It should be mentioned also that the Indo-European Telegrap Company have a system of landlines which before the war provided an alternative route to India, viâ Germany, Poland, Russia and Persia; being connected with Great Britain by means of leased wires in the Anglo-German Government Cables. This system has been repaired since the war, but is not yet worked for through traffic.
II.-IMPERIAL CABLE SERVICE. The Imperial Cable No. I was formed by the diversion during the war of one of the Emden-Azores-New York cables, the eastern section being diverted to Penzance and the western section to Halifax. The cable thus formed was brought into use in July 1917.
Under the Treaty of Versailles, Germany renounced all rights to these and other cables in favour of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers. The allocation of the cables has been discussed by the Powers, but an agreement has not yet been reached. The British claim, however, to retain the Imperial Cable has not been seriously challenged.
The Imperial Cable No. II was formerly the property of the Direct United States Cable Company, who had leased it to the Western Union Company. The latter company terminated the lease ; and the British Government purchased the cable in November 1920. In November 1922 it was diverted from Ireland to Penzance, in order tliat it might be worked side by side with the Imperial Cable No. I.
The Imperial Cables cater specially for traffic with the Dominions. The service, as above mentioned, is worked in close connection with the Pacific Cable Board's service to Australia and New Zealand. The Board work the Halifax station on a repayment basis, and look after the interests of the Imperial Cables generally in Canada. Australasian traffic is sent over a special line leased from the Canadian Pacific Railway, which is worked by the Board direct between Halifax and Bamfield, the terminus of the Pacific cable. West Indian traffic is sent from Halifax by the British cable route viâ Bermuda.
The Imperial Cable Service re-established the deferred rate to Canada a considerable time before the Cable Companies did so, charging the pre-war deferred rate of 4d. to Eastern Canada, whereas the Companies, on reintroducing their deferred service, for some time charged 6d. a word, although they eventually came into line. The Imperial Service was also the first to introduce a 3d. Night Letter Telegram rate to Eastern Canada.
For some years past the Week-end Service to Australia and New Zealand at quarter rates has been provided by the Imperial-Pacific route only. The Imperial Service alone has restored the deferred press rate to Canada at 21d. a word, and the Imperial-Pacific route alone has restored the deferred press rate to Australia and New Zealand at 4d. a word.
The Dominion Governments frequently in the past pressed proposals for the establishment of a Government Atlantic cable route, and now that such a route is available—and is the only trans-Atlantic cable route under purely British control—an appeal can be made with confidence to those Governments to give it their full support by arranging (as most of them do) for the transmission of all Government traffic over the route, and in any other way that may be open to them.
The position of the Imperial Cable Service as regards exchange of traffic with the Canadian National Telegraphs is not, however, altogether satisfactory. When the Imperial Cable No. I was first brought into operation, the Canadian Pacific Railway was the only organisation in a position to supply a connecting wire to Montreal, and it demanded, as a condition of doing so, an exclusive arrangement for dealing with traffic passing over the cable for Canada. This arrangement cannot be terminated until next year, and only then on payment of a substantial penalty. With some difficulty, arrangements were recently made with the Canadian National Telegraphs for the acceptance of traffic in Canada for transmission by the Imperial Cables; but when these arrangements came to the knowledge of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company it claimed that they were contrary to the spirit of the agreement with them; and although this contention is not admitted, the arrangements with the National Telegraphs have not yet been brought into operation.
III.-PACIFIC CABLE : PROPOSED DUPLICATION.
The Pacific Cable Board have for some time been considering proposals for the duplication of their route. The need for duplication is most urgent on the longest and therefore slowest) link between Vancouver and Fanning Island; but it has been decided to postpone the laying of a new cable between these points and between Fanning and Fiji, partly on account of the very high cost and partly because of the prospects that a system of " loading” long-distance submarine cables may soon be perfected which would considerably increase the carrying capacity. Experimental tests are, however, being carried out in connection with the adoption of wireless transmission as a second means of communication between Vancouver Island and either Fiji or Fanning Island.
As regards the south-western links of the cable (south of Fiji), the four partner Governments have agreed to lay cables between Auckland and Suva and between Sydney and Southport; and contracts for the manufacture and laying of these cables have been placed. The date specified for the completion of the work is August 1923.
IV.- WEST INDIES SERVICE.
An Agreement was made in 1914 between the Imperial, Canadian and West Indian Governments and the West India and Panamá Telegraph Company providing for a large reduction in cable rates to the British West Indies in return for subsidies of £8,000 a year each from the Imperial and Canadian Governments, and of £10,300 year from the various Colonies, making a total of £26,300 a year. The period was for ten years, expiring on the 30th September, 1924.
The Company's financial position has been steadily getting worse, and for some time past there has been serious risk that they would go into liquidation. They were given permission a few months ago to increase the rates between Great Britain and the British West Indies (excluding Jamaica) from 28. 6d. to 3s. a word, the corresponding rates from the first zone of Canada and the United States being increased from 1s. 6d. to 2s. a word.
Recently an Inter-Departmental Committee has been considering the arrangements to be made on the expiration of the Panamá Company's Agreement in September 1924, and has recommended a scheme under which a new cable would be laid between Turks Island and Barbados, with branches from Barbados to Trinidad and Georgetown (British Guiana), while the smaller British islands in the Leeward and Windward groups would be served by wireless from Barbados. With the approval of the Cabinet, tenders have been obtained for the provision and laying of these cables and for the construction of wireless stations, and these tenders are now under the consideration of the Governments concerned.