March 11, 1954

Cypher Communications

I wonder whether the time has not come to take an overall look at the adequacy of our facilities for rapid communications.

I am glad to learn that steps are being taken to establish cypher machinery in Geneva in time for the Korean Political Conference. This should be helpful not only for this Conference, but for the frequent conferences on various subjects held in that centre.

I wonder however whether the stage has not been reached where it might be appropriate to consider supplying all but our least important missions with cypher machinery, as a matterof standard office equipment. Perhaps iron curtain posts should be an exception to this, for security reasons. (Do the United States and/or the United Kingdom have cypher machinery in Moscow, Warsaw, etc?).

Has consideration been given to ensuring adequate facilities in case an emergency, either local or general, should develop? I should think that New Delhi, Karachi, Lisbon and Madrid, at the very least, should be capable of carrying and receiving heavy cypher traffice (sic), if the need should ever arise at short notice.

Has the department plans, and assured supplies of adequate equipment, for the vast expansion in cypher traffic that would probably become necessary in the event of a general emergency? I believe we were badly jammed in August - September 1939? Since the demand for cypher machinery would be very great in such circumstances, it is possible that the only assurance of have adequate supplies at short notice would be to have them in advance. If we hvae them, we might as well make use of them. We would also need trained operators. Adequate communication facilities for a peak load are surely as essential to a diplomatic service as to the armed forces, and our planning and equipment should be forward-looking.

Might we not also save money, and greatly improve our speed of communciations, and peak load capacity,if we had the possibility of sending traffic over direct teletype lines between London and at least most of our posts on the continent of Europe? I understand that most stock brokers, and the diplomatic missions of a good many other countries small as well as large, use the "telex" network, - a teletype system throughout Europe where it is not necessary to rent lines on a full-time basis but where connections are established for three-minute periods as in long distance telephone calls, and you pay only for what you use. Is consideration being given to our making use of this "telex" link?

Newspapers have for some decades used telegrams for reports, with the mail reserved for lengthy analyses and "think-pieces". Our London, Washington and Permdel missions do the same. But perhaps it would be useful if this practice were extended to the more important other NATO and Commonwealth capitals. Good communciations are the Department's nervous system.

I have been impressed by the delays, and possible difficulty, in rapid confidential communication with the Prime Minister during parts of his round-the-world trip. This has not particularly mattered in the present case, but circumstances could develop where it might be of great importance to be able to communicate immediately, and with secrecy, with a member of the government who was abroad. Should it not be possible to equip the VIP aircraft used for such tours (and aircraft used to take important delegations to certain conferences - e.g. NATO Council in Lisbon, etc.,) with cypher machinery and wireless of adequate range so that effective communication could be maintained at all times?

Is it not correct that the United Kingdom use not only cypher machinery but wireless in virtually all their Missions, including many consular posts? A fraction of one percent of our mutual aid funds would more than pay for up-to-date communication facilities for Canada.

(sgd) L.B.P.

   Back to the [COMWEB Museum Entrance]
AFFSC Main Site
This RingSurfNet Ring
is owned by
George McKeever
Want to join the
Unusual Museums of the Internet
[List Sites] [Previous] [Random] [Next 5] [Skip Next] [NEXT]
© 2001 George McKeever / Laurenzerberg IceWorks / Last Updated August 31, 2001

Disclaimer: The opinions and views expressed in this document are those of the AFFSC participants and webmaster alone. If you use any of the information in this document, it is at your own risk, we will not accept any responsibility for any damage or loss.