811.34537/446: Airgram

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

A–97. Reference Embassy’s No. 700 [705] of August 14, 7 p.m.39 The following message has been received from the War Department:

“Since July 23, 1942, the War Department has withheld certain necessary construction at the airport at Camagüey pending negotiations towards the successful accomplishment of the General Military Cooperation Agreement between the United States and Cuba.

In telegram No. 700 [705] from the American Ambassador to Cuba, dated August 14, 1942, the Ambassador points out the fact that as a result of the present political situation in Cuba, it is not possible to state when negotiations concerning the General Agreement can be resumed. The Ambassador further stated that he was willing to attempt to obtain action from the Government of Cuba on the Camagüey construction as a separate project if this step were considered desirable.

In view of the above and of the fact that the War Department is desirous that this project should proceed with the least practicable delay, it is therefore requested that your Department take steps to obtain from the Cuban Government the following:

Permission to make such arrangements as are necessary whereby the War Department, through the Compañía Nacional Cubana de Aviación, the Cuba Consolidated Railroad, and/or contractor, may perform the following construction:
A railroad siding approximately 1000 feet long (Cuba Consolidated Railroad), adjacent to the airport, for the purpose of spotting cars of gasoline and other supplies.
A transfer pipeline from the railroad siding to the existing gasoline storage facilities on the airport at Camagüey.
Barracks and such auxiliary buildings as are necessary for a detachment of approximately 300 officers and men.
Approximately 3600 square feet of warehouse buildings.
Such additional minor construction as may be necessary for the use of the comparatively small Air Corps detachment of approximately 300 officers and men.
Permission for the stationing of a detachment of approximately 300 officers and men, at the airport at Camagüey, Cuba.
Permission to operate small units of military aircraft from the airport at Camagüey on anti-submarine patrol as may be necessary in combatting the present submarine menace.
Permission to use this airport for ferrying operations and as an auxiliary airport in Western Hemisphere Defense.

It is contemplated that such buildings and fixed installations as are constructed will revert to the Compañía Nacional Cubana de Aviación 6 months after the end of the present war. However, the War Department has no objection to such arrangements as may be made by the Government of Cuba with the Compañía Nacional Cubana de Aviación wherein these buildings and installations might instead revert to the Cuban Government.

It is requested that the War Department be informed at the earliest practicable date of any informal permission which may be obtained to accomplish the above construction.”

You are requested, in your discretion, to place this matter at once before the appropriate Cuban authorities on the basis outlined by the War Department,40 meanwhile informing the Department of your opinion concerning title to the property after the war, mentioned in the penultimate paragraph of the War Department’s message.

  1. Not printed.
  2. The Ambassador presented a note to the Cuban Foreign Office dated August 26, 1942 (not printed); in its reply of September 12 (not printed) the Cuban Government granted all the authorizations requested (811.34537/487).