QST, February, 1917, page 43:
Do you know why wireless stations were censored at the beginning of the War and cables were not? Here is an interesting piece from the New York Times which explains the situation:
The Executive order of the President, Aug. 5, 1914, prohibited radio stations from transmitting or receiving unneutral messages, and delegated to the Secretary of the Navy the enforcement of the order. The Sayville Wireless Station was taken over by the Navy Department July 8, 1915. In explaining why a distinction is made between the wireless telegraph and the submarine cables to Europe as regards the censorship of messages transmitted by those routes, the Department of State quotes the following extract from a letter addressed to the Hon. William J. Stone, Chairman, Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, by the Secretary of State under date of Jan. 20, 1916, relative to the "Freedom of communication by submarine cables versus censored communication by wireless".
"The reason that wireless messages and cable messages require different treatment by a neutral Government is as follows:
"Communication by wireless cannot be interrupted by a belligerent. With a submarine cable it is otherwise. The possibility of cutting the cable exists, and if a belligerent possesses naval superiority the
cable is cut, as was the German cable near the Azores by one of Germany's enemies, and as was the British cable near Fanning Island by a German naval force. Since a cable is subject to hostile attack, the responsibility falls upon the belligerent and not upon the neutral to prevent cable communication.
"A more important reason, however, at least from the point of view of a neutral Government, is that messages sent out from a wireless station in neutral territory may be received by belligerent warships on the high seas. If these messages, whether plain or in cipher, direct the movements of warships or convey to them information as to the location of an enemy's public or private vessels, the neutral territory becomes a base of naval operations, to permit which would be essentially unneutral.
"As a wireless message can be received by all stations and vessels within a given radius, every message in cipher, whatever its intended destination, must be censored; otherwise military information may be sent to warships off the coast of a neutral. It is manifest that a submarine cable is incapable of becoming a means of direct communication with a warship on the high seas. Hence its use cannot, as a rule, make neutral territory a base for the direction of naval operations."