811.34537/358

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

No. 3355

Sir: I have the honor to inform the Department that during a conversation this morning with the Minister of State, Dr. Cortina, we discussed the establishment of the Cuban military zone complementary to our naval base at Guantánamo. The Minister said that he had the last draft before him, and it had had his study and he was about to clear it with President Batista. He expressed the hope that it would be possible to complete the arrangements for the establishment of the Cuban zone before my departure on February 7. I took this occasion to impress upon the Minister the desirability of progress on this matter. The Minister said that he had not been pressing the matter himself as he felt that we had not shown much interest therein recently, or at least that our Navy Department had not shown much interest therein. He said that he and I had given considerable study to this matter with the desire to reach a conclusion, but that the Navy Department had always been slower than the Cuban Government in acting on the various drafts. I told the Minister that I thought he was under a misapprehension with regard to the degree of interest of our Government and of the Navy Department, and that I hoped he would clear this matter with President Batista and his colleagues in the Cabinet before my departure for my new post. He said that he would make every effort to do so.

Respectfully yours,

George S. Messersmith