811.0141 Sw 2/92

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

No. 2316

Sir: I have the honor to state, although the facts are probably already known to the Department, that, as it is understood, the United Fruit Company for many years maintained at its own expense a meteorological station at Swan Island. During the cyclone of last autumn reports coming from that station were most helpful in giving warning of the impending storm. Since then, however, the United Fruit Company has discontinued the operation of the meteorological post, so that the countries bordering upon the area contiguous to Swan Island are without the valuable assistance which reports from that Island would furnish.

This being the case, the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs today invited me to his office and handed me a memorandum, the text of which is enclosed in copy and translation. Duplicates of the memorandum were also handed to the Chargés d’Affaires of Great Britain and Mexico, the three representatives being requested to convey the substance thereof to their respective Governments. As will be observed the memorandum suggests the appropriateness of reaching [Page 531] a diplomatic agreement between the Governments of the United States, Mexico, Great Britain and Cuba whereby they may reopen the meteorological station at Swan Island and share the expense of the operation thereof.

I have ascertained that the Mexican and British Chargés are forwarding copies of the memorandum to their Governments and I venture, in taking like action, to recommend the suggestion as of distinct benefit not only to areas in southern Florida but to American shipping in the Carribean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico as well.

I have [etc.]

Harold L. Williamson

The Cuban Department of State to the American Embassy


The Government of the Republic of Cuba has been informed that the meteorological station at Swan Island has been closed, seemingly for reasons of economy.

The utility of this station, situated in the region of the Caribbean Sea where most of the cyclones form and constituting a real scientific outpost, is too well known to require a detailed exposition in this memorandum of the desirability of its maintenance.

Responding to the far-seeing principles of international utility the Government of President Machado takes pleasure in suggesting to the Governments of the three countries most interested in this project, the conclusion of a diplomatic agreement which will permit the maintenance of this station, distributing the expenses thereof equally among the four countries so directly benefited, and leaving to the Government of His Britannic Majesty the execution of the agreement.

The Government of the Republic will be very grateful to the Governments taking part in this meeting if they would examine this question carefully and submit their observations with regard to this proposal as soon as possible.

  1. File translation revised.