837.51 Cooperation Program/173

Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. G. F. Scherer of the Division of the American Republics

Participants: Dr. Raul Menocal, Mayor of Habana
Ing. J. Puente, Cuban Engineer
Lieutenant Dwight, Navy Department, War and Navy Munitions Board
Mr. Crenshaw, WPB57
Mr. Warren L. Pierson, President, Export-Import Bank
Mr. Eugene LeBaron, Export-Import Bank
Mr. Malcolm Pirnie, New York Water Consultant
Mr. Collado, EO58
Mr. Hooker, EO59
G. F. Scherer, RA

At a meeting called by Mr. Pierson in his office on May 12, Señor Puente went over the plans he had prepared with Señor José García Montes for the rehabilitation of the Habana water system. His plan which has been drawn up over a period of years, contemplates the establishment of two new sources of water, in addition to the existing Albear Aqueduct. It is proposed to use no materials requiring priorities except a certain amount of reinforcing rods for the first 18 to [Page 295] 24 months of the project. This preliminary work might result in an increased supply to the system but this possibility was not made completely clear.

After the meeting Mr. Pierson mentioned that the Bank plans to send Mr. Pirnie to Habana in accordance with Item 2 of Page 1 of the attached copy of a draft letter to Dr. Menocal from the Bank.60

Mr. Pirnie indicated a familiarity with the Habana water system, gathered, I judge, from a previous trip during the administration of Dr. Mendieta.61 He spoke of the desirability of ascertaining what the distribution system in Habana could accomplish if sufficient water were made available. He mentioned that he knew of some eight or ten plans that had been prepared to rehabilitate the system, and suggested informally his own belief that a well field could be established to the east of the present source to bring to Palatino about 150,000,000 gallons of water. From that point a turbine pump system could carry the necessary quantity of water to a projected reservoir at Víbora, which, owing to its elevation, would provide sufficient pressure for the higher points in the City. Mr. Pirnie visualizes the new source of water as supplementary to existing supplies.62

  1. War Production Board.
  2. Emilio G. Collado, Executive Secretary, Board of Economic Operations of the Department of State.
  3. John S. Hooker, Assistant Executive Secretary of the Board of Economic Operations.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Carlos Mendieta was President of Cuba, 1934–35.
  6. No definite action was taken during 1942 with regard to this proposed Export-Import Bank loan for the Habana waterworks project. A source of delay was the choice of a consulting engineer by the Bank.