837.51 Public Works Debt/292½

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

No. 2899

Sir: With further reference to the unpaid portion of the public works debt, I have the honor to report that I saw Senator Casanova20 this morning and suggested that he cooperate in effecting prompt settlement.

I reminded Senator Casanova that the President and the Secretary of State favored an early settlement and that General Menocal had offered to cooperate. I told him that I assumed that Colonel Batista21 also favored an early settlement. He said that he knew this to be the case.

I said that it was apparent that all the elements involved had committed themselves to an early settlement, and suggested that this was the most appropriate time for the Cuban Congress to approve the settlements already agreed upon with Warren Brothers22 and Purdy & Henderson.23 I pointed out that the action would be in accord with the present spirit of conciliation between the opposing political groups in Cuba and with the constructive and patriotic attitude now being shown by all parties. I reminded Senator Casanova that Ambassador Messersmith would be arriving here tomorrow, and expressed the belief that the Cuban Government would not want, under any circumstances, to force him to initiate his service as Ambassador to Cuba by having to urge the settlement of the Public Works Debt, to which Cuba was obligated and to which it was committed, and concerning which everything that could be said had already been said.

I told the Senator, further, that Mr. Crafts,24 representing Warren Brothers, had recently returned to Cuba, and that I had learned from him that Judge Brewster,25 who had the Warren Brothers case under his jurisdiction, has been ill and that there is a possibility that the case will come into the hands of another federal judge, who may or may not have the sympathetic, patient attitude which Judge Brewster has shown. In the meantime, I had learned, the bondholders are becoming more impatient, and there is imminent danger of public hearings in the case, which would do no good to Cuba, to the bondholders, [Page 745] or to any one else, but which the company might not be able to stave off as successfully as it has been able to in the past. I referred also to the discussions of proposed sugar legislation in Washington, and suggested that, since all elements in Cuba appeared to favor a settlement of this troublesome debt, the settlement be made immediately, in order that Cuba might capitalize on its action.

Senator Casanova said that he agreed entirely, and offered to take the necessary steps immediately to obtain passage of his bill by the Congress.

Respectfully yours,

Willard L. Beaulac
  1. José Manuel Casanova.
  2. Fulgencio Batista, former Chief of Staff of the Cuban Army. See also footnote 2, p. 737.
  3. To Warren Brothers Company of Boston was due a large part of the Cuban public works debt for the construction of 481 miles of the Central Highway running from Piñar del Rìo to Santiago de Cuba.
  4. The portion of the public works debt due to Purdy & Henderson was for the construction of the capitol building at Habana.
  5. George B. Crafts.
  6. Judge Elisha Hume Brewster, United States District Court, District of Massachusetts.