811.34537/407: Telegram

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

456. Your 502 of July 3, 11 p.m. As the urgency of inaugurating the anti-submarine operations is apparent, and the War Department wishes to send survey parties to Cuba at once, you should, without awaiting drafting of the tripartite agreement (your telegram 492 of July 1, 11 p.m.32) seek authority from the Cuban Government at once for the following, based on the plan contained in the Department’s 407 of July 2, 10 p.m.:

Permission for the Compañía Nacional Cubana de Aviación to acquire the necessary land at San Julián to construct and make available for our use one or more runways of 7,000 feet. This permission should include authority for United States Army personnel to supervise construction.
The Cuban Government to make available the necessary land in the vicinity of San Julián for the War Department to construct the necessary facilities for the operation of the field. (It would facilitate [Page 278] matters if this land were Cuban Government-owned.) The construction contemplated includes the items mentioned in numbered paragraphs 3, 5 and 6 of the Department’s 407.
Permission to station not over 500 officers and men, together with their planes and equipment, at San Julián.
Authority for the United States Army Air Force to exercise complete operational and administrative control at the San Julián base. (Although the War Department will cooperate with the Cuban and Mexican aviation forces assigned to anti-submarine duty, the effectiveness of our operations requires complete United States control. Provision will be made for housing Cuban and Mexican personnel with our own personnel and, whenever possible, for servicing their airplanes. In the latter connection however the War Department emphasizes that its servicing facilities will necessarily be specially planned for the types of aircraft it intends to operate.)

For your information certain changes in joint Anglo-American plans have resulted in a change in plans for the use of San Antonio de los Baños for training RAF crews. This base will therefore become available primarily for operations against enemy sea raiders.

You may mention in taking the foregoing up with the Cuban authorities the satisfaction of the State and War Departments with Dr. Cortina’s constructive suggestion of an agreement for military-naval cooperation (your despatch 312 of July 234). The Department wishes to stress to you however the importance of obtaining the foregoing specific permissions without awaiting conclusion of either (1) the tripartite agreement, or (2) Dr. Cortina’s general cooperation agreement.

With reference to the tripartite agreement, the draft should provide that Mexico grants to the United States and Cuba at Mérida the same privileges granted at San Julián by Cuba to the United States and Mexico. The general cooperation agreement should greatly facilitate new arrangements, as they become necessary, similar to the one now sought. You may inform Dr. Cortina that the Department together with the War and Navy Departments is already studying his draft and that we shall endeavor to communicate with you on the matter very soon.

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