File No. 837.156/135.
The American Minister to the Secretary of State.
Habana, January 29, 1913.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of the Department’s telegram of January 28 in regard to the so-called Habana-Casa Blanca bridge concession, and to transmit herewith enclosed copy of a note which I today addressed to the Cuban Secretary of State on the matter. As the Department will observe, I have ventured to omit from this note any allusion to the precedent created by the suspension of the Zapata Swamp concession.
The Zapata Swamp concession was granted by the President in conformity with the power vested in him by the Law of Waters, a general body of legislation, and was in reality nothing more than a contract. The contract was not to become effective until thirty days after its publication in the Official Gazette, when, if no valid objections were made, the company might claim its contract. During this thirty-day period the Department made its objections to the contract and the President, acting within the authority granted him, suspended the effects of the decree to permit an investigation. Even under these circumstances he suspended his decree only with the consent and at the instance of the concessionary company which preferred to suspend the decree until the project could be made to conform to the wishes of the American Government, thus avoiding subsequent complications.
The bridge concession, on the contrary, was granted by a special bill in Congress which, upon signature by the President, became a law. The decree has been duly published and become a part of the law, and the company has begun work. The President could no more suspend this measure than he could repeal any other piece of legislation.
I have [etc.]