File No. 862.85/58
The Secretary of State to the Minister in Cuba ( Gonzales )
Ascertain and cable attitude of Cuban Government toward disposing of German vessels to the United States which are understood to have been seized by that Government, and if these vessels are not seized what the attitude of the Cuban Government will be toward seizing or requisitioning them.
If Cuba is willing to dispose of these vessels the United States Shipping Board recommends the following method of procedure:
It should be suggested that Cuba take the following steps, by proper legislation or order:
- Authorize her proper officials to seize the vessels, and on proof that they are of enemy nationality, assume title thereto on behalf of the Cuban Government.
- Provide by appropriate legislation for a board of competent appraisers (who need not be citizens of Cuba), to be appointed by the President of Cuba, to assess their present value (unaffected by seizure or prospect of seizure by the Government), and report the same to the President of Cuba.
- Authorize the President of Cuba to sell the ships to the United States, at a price not less than that fixed by the board of appraisers.
Congress should be requested to authorize the United States Shipping Board, with the consent of the President, to purchase vessels from the Cuban Government, at a reasonable price to be determined by the Shipping Board.
The Shipping Board should make a formal offer to buy the ships from the Cuban Government, on the following terms:
- The vessels to be delivered immediately;
- The Board to pay the Cuban Government the price determined upon by the Cuban Board of Appraisers (provided the personnel of the board is first approved by the Shipping Board), plus all reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the seizure, condemnation, and sale, with interest from the date of delivery.