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

No. 143

Sir: The Department has received your telegram No. 62, May 2, 3 p.m., and your despatches No. 162 and No. 183 of March 31, 1928, and April 16, 1928, respectively,13 regarding the desire of the Cuban Government to negotiate a further credit in connection with the Public Works Special Fund.

You are instructed to call on the Cuban Department of State and to discuss the matter informally, pointing out that in view of the public call for bids, it is expected that requests for information and a statement of the Department’s views in the matter will be received by the Department. The Embassy has kept the Department informed in considerable detail regarding Cuban public finances but the Department lacks information regarding the present plans of the Cuban Government, the purpose of and the reason for the proposed financing, its relationship to the public works program, the actual progress of the execution of that plan, and whether it is to be modified or accelerated. It is possible that in connection with the contemplated financing the Cuban Government may have prepared connected studies which it will not find inconvenient to place at the disposal of the Department for its information.

It is not desired that you base your remarks on the Piatt Amendment [Page 647] or the Treaty of 190314 but there should be no appearance of avoiding discussion thereof. In case the question of the Department’s attitude in this connection is raised, you may refer to the Department’s attitude in December 1926 (Department’s telegram No. 147, December 10 [11], 192615) but you should state that you have no instructions in the matter.

The Department notes in a press despatch from Habana mention of “the $10,000,000 loan made by the Chase National Bank, which is supposed not to have received Washington’s approval”. The Chase National Bank consulted the Department in December 1926 and in February 1927 and was informed that the Department offered no objection to its financial arrangement with Cuba. The press despatch also states that the $10,000,000 loan “has been exhausted, and revenues are not coming up with public works requirements”. You may in your discretion call to the attention of the Cuban Department of State the publication in the United States of reports of this kind which are likely to lead to inquiries addressed to the Department. The Department also expects that American bankers would consult it before committing themselves to a financial transaction of this kind.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Francis White
  1. None printed.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1904, p. 243.
  3. Not printed.