837.51 Cooperation Program/187

Memorandum by Mr. George F. Scherer of the Division of the American Republics73

Three Cuban Projects
$25,000,000 Loan

Mr. Edgar74 of AE informs me that he and Mr. Ravndal75 have had several conversations with Ambassador Concheso concerning the following three projects evidently submitted to the Cuban Embassy by the National Development Commission:

Repair of the Central Highway
Water and sanitation project in Santiago de Cuba
Water and sanitation project in Guantánamo

The last two would appear to require 7,000 tons of scarce materials, including pipe, valves, etc. At their first meeting with the Ambassador Mr. Ravndal convinced him that it would be preferable at the start to ascertain informally from the interested agencies of this Government of the decision that might be expected if project applications were received on a formal basis. This was done and it was indicated that all three projects would be rejected, in view of the critical scarcity of the necessary materials.

The Ambassador was, of course, deeply disappointed to learn of the certain rejections. Mr. Ravndal and Mr. Edgar subsequently considered the possibility of the Department’s backing the Guantánamo project on the basis of a definite contribution to health and sanitation in the area near the United States Naval Base. This was suggested as a possibility to Ambassador Concheso with the indication that no definite assurances could be given but that the Department would be glad to cooperate with Cuba in working up the case on the basis of a revision of the material requirements at first presented.

  1. Addressed to the Chief of the Division of the American Republics (Bonsal) and to the Assistant Chief of that Division (Walmsley).
  2. Donald A. Edgar, of the American Hemisphere Exports Office of the Department of State.
  3. Christian M. Ravndal, Chief, American Hemisphere Exports Office.