810.20 Defense/1022

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

No. 2293

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Department’s strictly confidential instruction no. 736, of June 21, 1941,14 with regard to the secret contract between the War Department and Pan American [Page 108] Airways for the improvement of airport and seaplane base facilities in the various countries of the Western Hemisphere.

I have had some knowledge of the nature of these arrangements and I have collaborated with the Pan American Airways in such ways as may have been possible and proper in the work which they are carrying through in Cuba under this arrangement.

The Camagüey Field is the only one in Cuba which is affected by the arrangements between the Pan American Airways and the War Department. The Pan American Airways will also improve their field at Rancho Boyeros, near Habana, but it is my understanding that the work which the Pan American Airways is doing at Rancho Boyeros does not fall within the scope of the agreement under reference.

When the Pan American Airways first started the development of its field at Camagüey under this arrangement with the War Department, the attorney in Cuba for Pan American Airways, Dr. Mario Lazo, got in touch with me. Since that time this Embassy has collaborated with Dr. Lazo in every possible and proper way in facilitating the arrangements for the development of the Camagüey Field. I have discussed the matter in confidence with the President of Cuba, the Minister of State and the Minister of Defense on several occasions, and so far as I am aware, the Pan American Airways and the attorney here, Dr. Lazo, have been more than satisfied with the cooperation which they have received from the Cuban government.

I doubt, therefore, whether the Department’s instruction no. 736, under reference, has any application so far as the Pan American Airways having encountered difficulties in negotiations with the government of Cuba in this matter. I shall continue to give to the Pan American Airways such collaboration in this matter as it may be feasible and proper to give.

Respectfully yours,

George S. Messersmith
  1. Not printed.