The Chargé in Cuba (White) to the Secretary of State

No. 202

Sir: Supplementing my despatch No. 200 of the 18th instant,63 I have the honor to report that I saw Colonel Hernandez, the Secretary of the Interior, this morning in regard to the projects of the All America Cables Company, Inc.

Colonel Hernandez received the matter very favorably and stated that he would push it at the earliest possible opportunity. Regarding the concession for a cable from Guantanamo Bay to Santiago de Cuba, he stated that it is just possible that the concession given to the French Cable Company by the Spanish Government for cables on the south coast of Cuba may contain stipulations which would prevent the granting of such concession to the All American Cable Company. He added, however, that his recollection is that there is no such prohibitory clause in the concession, and promised to look into it as soon as he is able to go to his office. He has been ill for some days and is still confined to bed.

Even should it be impossible to grant a concession for a cable to Santiago de Cuba, Colonel Hernandez said it would be possible to allow the Company to install a land line from Guantanamo Bay or Antilla, as the Company might choose.

Colonel Hernandez spoke of his being anxious for the laying of a cable along the north coast of Cuba as there is none there now and the right to do so has not been given to the French Company. For strategic purposes he considered it most advantageous, and from a commercial point of view it is essential to have this independent means of communication as the cities on the north coast, he expects, will grow very rapidly in size and importance, especially Nuevitas and perhaps Antilla.

The Cuba Cane Sugar Corporation, I understand, is building large wharves at Nuevitas Bay near Puerto Tarafa, and this will soon [Page 60] become the largest sugar exportation port on the Island. Incidentally its development should tend to relieve somewhat the present congestion in Habana.

Colonel Hernandez was also favorable to the granting of a concession for a cable from New York to Habana and from Habana to South America via Mexico or Central America.

Mr. Strahan, I believe, will present the petition for these concessions within the next few days, and I feel confident there will be no difficulty in their being granted. The only possible delay may arise through the illness of the Secretary of the Interior and the absence of the President, who, I understand, is contemplating leaving Habana tonight on his yacht for a visit to the eastern end of the Island.

I have [etc.]

Francis White
  1. Not printed.