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

No. 2128

Sir: With reference to the Department’s instruction No. 943 of April 14, 1927, relative to the desire of Mr. Charles J. Harrah to obtain indemnification for losses growing out of the alleged illegal demolition of his railroad and appurtenances located in the vicinity of Marianao, Cuba, and the consequent destruction of the business for which the railroad was built, I have the honor to enclose herewith copies and translations of a note received from the Cuban Foreign Office (No. 668 of June 22, 1927),19 in answer to this Embassy’s latest representations in the matter.

Dr. Campa, the Cuban Undersecretary of State, conferred with me in connection with this case and brought to my attention the fact that the Foreign Office considers that it has already expressed its opinion in its lengthy note No. 615 of July 13, 1926, on the subject, as reported in this Embassy’s despatch No. 1528 of July 16, 1926.20

Dr. Campa stated that the brief of Wade & Beck, contained in the Department’s instruction under consideration, will be personally submitted to President Machado in order that, should he so desire, another [Page 905] attorney may be delegated to study and report on the matter, should a new phase or point, not touched upon in the note of the Cuban Government, be found in the brief. Dr. Campa also stated that the Cuban Foreign Office does not care to have its own counsel study and report on this matter since it considers that because of the thorough study by the counsel of the Foreign Office it would not be fair to have him again reexamine the case.

The Undersecretary of State called my attention to note No. 271 of December 10, 1914, addressed by the American Minister in behalf of Harrah to the Foreign Office,21 in which it was clearly shown that what Harrah had was a concession for the extraction of sand for a limited period of time and that under such concession he made use of or constructed a narrow gauge railroad line over which he had no concession from the Railroad Commission; also that Harrah and his attorneys are presenting the facts so as to make it appear that what the Railroad Commission granted in 1912 to one Gomez, later a partner with Harrah in the sand business, might be interpreted to be a railroad concession belonging to Harrah, without proving this fact.

According to Dr. Campa, from the records of the Railroad Commission the only railroad concession granted in the district under discussion was that to Gomez in 1912, which was declared lapsed and without effect by a subsequent resolution of the Commission, because of failure to comply and fulfill certain conditions of the concession.

The Undersecretary of State pointed out very emphatically and clearly that the Cuban Government considered the brief of Wade & Beck very unjust and that it was chagrined because the Department of State thought fit to submit the said brief to the Cuban Government.

I have [etc.]

L. Lanier Winslow
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