837.51 Public Works Debt/326

The Ambassador in Cuba (Messersmith) to the Secretary of State

No. 595

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my confidential despatches No. 577 of July 19 and No. 590 of July 24, with which I transmitted memoranda of conversations which I had with the Secretary of State, Dr. Campa, and President Laredo Brú, with reference to the obligations due by the Cuban Government to Warren Brothers and Purdy and Henderson. It will be recalled that in the conversation which I had with the President, he stated that he would take up this matter immediately with the Secretary of State, Dr. Campa, the Secretary of Defense, Dr. Ramos, and Mr. Amadeo López Castro, with instructions that they were to see the President-Elect to urge upon him his collaboration in securing a settlement of these obligations without delay.

The Secretary of State, Dr. Campa, requested me to call on him yesterday, and he informed me that, on instruction of the President, [Page 756] he, together with those above mentioned, had just called on the President-Elect, Colonel Batista. They had set forth to him the President’s opinion and their own that the matter of the obligations should be settled without delay. The President-Elect replied that he shared this opinion and that it was his desire that there should be no further delay in meeting this obligation of the Government. He requested Dr. Campa to state to the President that he could depend upon his full cooperation in this matter and that he would move in that direction immediately. The President-Elect further requested Dr. Campa to inform the President that it was his opinion that it would not be desirable to have the Congress meet while the Habana Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American States was in progress, as the Capitol was so occupied by the various delegations and their meetings. He felt, however, that the House of Representatives should meet immediately after the Habana Meeting adjourned and pass the appropriate bill to settle the obligations on the basis of the agreement reached in November 1938, and that immediately after the House had passed the bill, the Senate should be convened to take similar action thereon.

Dr. Campa stated that he had been requested by the President to convey this information to me, and he gave me his assurance that this long-standing matter was now on the way to settlement without further delay.

I shall continue to give this matter my attention, and I hope that I will be able to report favorable developments in the course of the next week, as the Meeting of Foreign Ministers is expected to adjourn on July 30, 1940.

Respectfully yours,

George S. Messersmith