837.51 Public Works Debt/213

Memorandum by the Assistant Chief of the Division of the American Republics ( Briggs ) to the Under Secretary of State ( Welles )

The status of the Purdy and Henderson claim8 has once more become precarious. Ambassador Wright telephoned yesterday to say that he had that day received a call from Senators Saladrigas, Casanova and German Lopez, who had reported that “because of political opposition” it now seemed doubtful whether the enactment of the debt settlement bill by the Senate, with Purdy and Henderson included therein, could be obtained. Mr. Wright also reported that these Senators had sent Dr. Mañas9 to him on the preceding day with a report to the same effect and a request that Dr. Mañas arrange for Ambassador Wright to receive the Senators. The Senators said that they had approached the Ambassador at the suggestion of Colonel Batista.

Mr. Wright told me that he had once more covered all the ground recently discussed with the Secretary of the Treasury and with Senator Casanova, emphasizing again that the omission of Purdy and Henderson would not be regarded by this Government as a “settlement” of the Public Works Debt; that without liquidation of the Public Works Debt Cuba could not expect to get the desired cooperation of this Government in any future public works financing; and that it seemed doubtful whether this Government would even find it possible to conclude the contemplated revision of the trade agreement.10

Ambassador Wright referred to Mr. Welles’ letter to him of March 2711 authorizing the Ambassador to discuss the Purdy and Henderson claim with the President and with Colonel Batista; he said that, as we were aware, he had not acted on this authorization since the situation then existing had been met, but that he would now probably seek interviews both with the President and with the Chief of Staff of the Army, He is sending by air mail a memorandum of his conversation yesterday with the three Senators.

Ellis O. Briggs
  1. This portion of the debt was for construction of capitol building at Habana.
  2. Presumably Arturo Mañas, member of the Cuban Institute.
  3. Notation on margin: “Mr. Wright said he based this on a letter from Mr. Welles last January. B[riggs].”
  4. Not found in Department files.