After reviewing a source about American-Australian relations pre-WW2, there are a couple of troubles the Americans had with their relationship with Australia (see the excerpt of the source below). My question is was a direct telegraph line from Australia to America ever actually created and, if so, when?


A direct radio telephone service between the United States and Australia was inaugurated on December 20, 1938. There is, however, no direct telegraph service between the two countries. Telegrams either go by radio via Canada or by cable via Canada or Great Britain...Should the United States become involved in war, particularly the Far East, instantaneous communication with Australia would be of the utmost importance. It has been almost three years since the Department first took up with Australia the desire of RCA to establish a direct radiotelegraphic service between the United States and Australia. It is believed the principle objection to the establishment of the about service comes from London.

Excerpts from a memorandum from the Department of State (USA), Division of European Affairs, 8 May 1941 (Source: JCPML/00266/2/34; Presidential Secretary's File-Diplomatic-Australia at Roosevelt Presidential Library):

  • What is the need for a telegraph cable once you have radio? And is there any need for a direct cable when traffic can be routed through Asia?
    – MCW
    Apr 9, 2014 at 12:50
  • 1
    @MarkC.Wallace WW2 showed how fragile routing messages could become. Had the only cable to Australia been through Japanese occupied Asia (as it was after the fall of Singapore and the Dutch East Indies)... Radio took up much of the slack, but for large volumes it's slower and it can be unreliable (think solar storms). That's why there's still cables being built, even to this day (though now they carry almost no telegraph messages but rather internet traffic)
    – jwenting
    Apr 10, 2014 at 9:11

1 Answer 1


And your question? your source clearly stated it was created, as a radio telegraphy service, in 1938.
An undersea cable wasn't laid, as the same source states. And by the time telegraph cables were already being replaced by wireless telegraphy services (or radio telegraphy as the Americans called it).
Wikipedia states that the first cable from the US across the Pacific to a point further away than Hawaii was only taken into service in 1991, and that one ran to Japan. See [here].1
This is a nice map of undersea cables. I don't know how complete it is, but it shows indeed no direct cable link between the US mainland and Australia (there appears to be one from Hawaii to Australia).

So no, there is no direct telegraph cable between the US mainland (or indeed anywhere in the Americas) and Austrial and never was.

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