The Under Secretary of State ( Welles ) to the Mayor of Habana ( Menocal )

My Dear Dr. Menocal: I have studied with care the points regarding the strategic importance of the Habana waterworks which you list in your letter of March 2, 194255 and they have been brought to the attention of officials of the interested agencies of the United States.

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As you are well aware, I have long been interested in the problem of the Habana waterworks and share your belief that its reconstruction and extension constitute a project of public works of great importance. There exist in the various agencies of the Government of the United States a full appreciation of the economic and social benefits to be derived from the project, and a sympathetic desire to cooperate to the fullest extent practicable with you in carrying it out.

There are two principal types of considerations involved in such cooperation. The first is of course the working out of satisfactory financial and technical arrangements for handling the project. I understand that you have discussed these at some length with the President of the Export-Import Bank, Mr. Warren Lee Pierson, and you are in broad general agreement with respect to the matter. I am informed by Mr. Pierson that upon the receipt from you of a letter regarding the form of financial cooperation he will be able to give you his specific suggestions and comments.

The other type of consideration is even more important in these days in which the decision to allocate materials to any project must be based upon the degree to which the project will contribute to our common major objective, the winning of the war. I refer of course to the priority rating which must be obtained from the War Production Board if the materials and equipment to complete the project are to be made available. The Department will make every effort to insure that the production agency gives appropriate consideration to the strategic and other aspects of the project. Preliminary consideration of the project has already taken place, and as additional detailed information regarding the materials required is received, the Department will be in a position to press for a decision.

It was a great pleasure for me to see you again on your recent visit and to have an opportunity to discuss matters of common interest.

With my kindest personal regards, believe me,

Yours very sincerely,

Sumner Welles
  1. Not printed; in this letter the Mayor stressed the inefficiency of the existing waterworks in supplying merchant ships, and the vulnerability of Habana to bombing and epidemics.