File No. 763.72/10520
The Cuban Minister ( De Céspedes ) to the Secretary of State
The Minister of Cuba presents his compliments to His Excellency the Secretary of State and has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of his signed note verbale of June 10, the importance of which is duly appreciated, as also the effective measures taken by the Navy Department for the guidance of all ships leaving Cuba and in order to inform the Cuban Government, through the United States Legation at Habana, from time to time, of the changes that may occur in the submarine situation.
The Honorable Secretary of the Navy expresses the earnest request; that the close cooperation of the Cuban Government in all matters pertaining to submarine activities be given; such close cooperation with the antisubmarine operations of the Government of the United States being esteemed of the first importance.
It was with this same object in view that the Cuban Minister respectfully requested that regular information be supplied the Cuban Government with regard to the submarine situation, and has asked that some of the submarine chasers that were to be turned over to the Cuban Government be made available at the earliest possible moment, in order to cooperate in the operations to the best of Cuba’s ability.[Page 704]
Considering the practically defenseless state of Habana and other important Cuban ports, exposed to an attack by sea from the enemy, that might result in loss of life and property, since the levying of a forced contribution seems hardly possible due to the vigilance and timely action of the Allied nations, the Cuban Minister respectfully reiterates the petition of his Government for such ordnance as might be spared without detriment to the requirements of the armies in Europe.
A special Cuban military purchasing commission has been endeavoring to secure for the coast defence of Habana twelve 6-inch, .30-caliber Navy guns on pedestal mounts formerly of the flagship Newark, now owned by Francis Bannerman of 101 Broadway, New York. Mr. Bannerman has given the Cuban Government an option on these guns, subject to the decision of the United States Government, but it would appear that the Ordnance Department has stated that it intends to purchase these guns, with eighteen others owned by Mr. Bannerman, to be put on carriages and sent to France.
While not informed as to any ulterior decision in this matter, the Cuban Minister entertains doubts as to whether or not the guns are now available, and, in the first case, would be highly gratified to be able to advise his Government that there exists no obstacle at the present to the purchase of those pieces which, if not entirely sufficient, might serve to materially improve the coast defences of the Cuban capital.