File No. 837.77/104.

The American Minister to the Secretary of State.

No. 653.]

Sir: I have the honor to report that in pursuance of the Department’s unnumbered instruction of the 3rd instant, I conferred with my British colleague, Mr. Stephen Leech, in regard to the Caibarién-Nuevitas railroad matter.

Our discussion seemed to indicate that there was no substantial difference between us as to the facts and Mr. Leech admitted that the facts relating to the points now in controversy were correctly stated in my report to the Department, although we differed radically in our deductions; and he gave it as his opinion that the question now was purely one of construction, which should be referred to and decided by legal authorities. So it seems that we have “a common understanding of the facts in the case,” and the “considerable difference of opinion” is not as to the facts. We do not and cannot agree as to the decision to be reached from a consideration of these facts, notwithstanding which I am still firmly convinced that my views heretofore expressed to the Department are correct. * * *

I did not attempt to argue these contentions with Mr. Leech, for they have nothing to do with the essential facts, and Mr. Leech frankly said it would be futile.

[Page 403]

With reference to the concluding portion of Mr. Bryce’s note to the Department, dated February 27th, in which it is suggested that the United States Government might intimate to the Cuban Government that no action should now be taken “tending to create vested interests,” in order that the matter might be “reserved without prejudice” for the consideration of the new Cuban Administration, I have the honor to submit that as a matter of fact the question is now before the courts, and in the circumstances no action on the part of the Cuban Government is conceivable tending to create any vested interests not already derived from the actual award of the concession to the North Coast Company.

Mr. Leech’s knowledge of the questions involved is far from thorough, and he finally stated that it would be necessary for him to request the attorneys of the Cuban Central to prepare a memorandum for him covering the points at issue. He proposes to send a copy of this memorandum to the British Ambassador in Washington. He has promised to bring me this statement as soon as possible; and I shall then have the honor of reporting further to the Department.

I have [etc.]

A. M. Beaupré.