811.34537/386b: Telegram

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

239. The Department has been requested by the War Department to facilitate an exploratory and preliminary visit of inspection of certain sites in Cuba, particularly Camagüey, for the purpose of possibly locating and establishing one of several combined British-American bombardment operational training units, should the Cuban Government be favorably disposed towards its consideration.

The arrangements that may result contemplate the leasing of certain lands and the construction of facilities for the training of advanced pilots especially in over-water flight. The personnel might comprise between 2,500 and 4,000 U.S. operating personnel and British students. Under present plans the advanced nature of the training [Page 263] would appear to preclude the possibility of making available instruction for the armed forces of Cuba.

Since the present mission is preliminary and exploratory, no definite commitments are to be undertaken until the results have been reviewed by the interested agencies of this Government.

The personnel of the mission will include: Brig. General William Ord Ryan, Group Captain R. H. S. Spaight, Royal Air Force, Lt. Col. Ray T. Middleton, and a crew of nine men. It is probable that General Ryan will wish to have technical engineering data secured by members of the mission in anticipation of successful negotiations.

You are requested to facilitate the visit of the mission, arriving at Habana late afternoon of May 8, and to assign a member of your staff to accompany it. You are likewise requested to make every effort to avoid publicity in connection therewith.