837.152H11/424a: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Cuba ( Long )

49. McGivney and Rokeby Case.

Department must again call this case to your attention and ask that you impress upon the Cuban Government the importance which this Government attaches to an arrangement for the settlement of this case in the near future. On March 25, 1919, Department transmitted through the Legation to the Cuban Government a proposed protocol of arbitration of this case.93 I will not review the arguments presented at length in Department’s instruction [Page 104] on and since that date. It is sufficient to say that no substantial reply has been made by Cuba and no sound argument has been advanced by it against entering into an arbitration agreement. Cuba has not even agreed in principle to arbitration notwithstanding that she is a party to The Hague Conventions on arbitration of 1899 and 1907. It will be obvious to you that the good relations of the two countries cannot be cemented when one of them apparently refuses to take prompt steps to arrange for the settlement of an increasingly irritating dispute.

It is my earnest wish that a protocol along the lines of the above submitted be agreed to by the two Governments, and you are instructed to make another effort to obtain if possible the concurrence of the Cuban Government in this or a similar protocol. To this end please seek an interview with the President of Cuba and present to him forcibly the arguments heretofore outlined to the Legation and any others which may occur to you in this connection. Add that the United States is at a loss to understand the apparent indifference, if not the actual opposition, of the Cuban Government to the negotiation of a settlement of this case, and that it must unmistakably make clear to the Cuban Government that such an attitude cannot be viewed by the United States other than with concern; for the friendly intercourse of nations, as Cuba must know, is facilitated by the amicable and prompt settlement of pending disputes. If it is difficult for the Cuban Government to be a party to an arbitration of this case on account of internal politics, you may say that such difficulties are fully realized here, but at the same time you should point out that while it is appreciated that this consideration may be an obstacle to reaching an agreement to arbitrate, it must nevertheless be clearly understood that the settlement of disputes would never be arrived at if such conditions were to control, and that, after making every concession to that point of view, this Government is not in position further to delay settlement of this case for that reason. If the President refers to a proposal for “an informal arbitration” you may emphatically state that this Government is not now open to a proposal for any settlement of the dispute which binds neither party to abide by the decision and that the United States can only consider a proposal for a full and fair consideration of the case on its merits, free from technicalities, by an impartial commission empowered to render an award which shall be final and binding. During your discussion you are also instructed to impress upon the President that the United States cannot continue to overlook a disinclination on the part of Cuba to negotiate for an arbitration of this case in opposition to its commitments [Page 105] at The Hague and that this Government must consider what steps it may take to obtain a recognition of the rights of the American citizens concerned and an adjustment of their long standing claim.

Polk
  1. Not printed.