File No. 837.156/142.

The Secretary of State to the American Minister.

No. 231.]

Sir: The attention of the Department has been called to a concession granted by the late administration to Messrs. Waddell and Harrington for the building of a bridge across the harbor at Havana. This matter was brought to the attention of this Government last spring, and both the War and Navy Departments set forth objections, which you will find in the records of your office.

It was not claimed at the time that the Piatt Amendment gave this nation a right to do more than protest against such an enterprise, but the Department acted upon the theory that anything deemed inimical to the interests of both Governments was a proper subject for a frank exchange of official opinions, and expressed itself with great emphasis against the wisdom of permitting the construction of the bridge at the point mentioned in the concession.

Should the subject come up again for consideration you are at liberty to inform the Cuban Government that the objections urged by the War and Navy Department [Departments] under the last administration are still entertained by those Departments; and that this Government, while it does so with great respect and with a full recognition of the Cuban Government’s independent rights, considers it [Page 380] its duty to reiterate very earnestly the objections then urged to an enterprise so manifestly inconvenient and threatening seriously and injuriously to affect the navigation and defense of the port of Havana and still wishes to express the confident hope that the Government of Cuba will find it consistent with the interests of Havana and the welfare of Cuba and with its own obligations to discontinue it.

I am [etc.]

W. J. Bryan.