The Cuban Chargé (Barón) to the Secretary of State


Excellency: Complying with instructions from my Government, I have the honor to write to Your Excellency, to refer to the withdrawal which has been made by the corresponding authorities of the steamship Florida of the Peninsular and Occidental S.S. Co., and of the steamship Shawnee, of the New York and Cuba Mail S.S. Co., from their respective runs—Miami–Habana and New York–Habana.

The steamship Florida has been replaced on the Miami–Habana run by the said Company’s steamship Cuba, which previously operated on the Habana–Key West–Tampa run, on which no steamer has been left. The result is that tourist traffic, as well as the Commercial traffic which this route maintained, chiefly for the transportation of tobacco and vegetables—very heavy at this time of year—is suffering greatly.

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Also, the withdrawal of the steamship Shawnee limits the possibility of exporting Cuban vegetables to the port of New York.

Both the Association of Fruit and Vegetable Growers and Exporters of Cuba and the National Tourist Corporation of Cuba have written to the Government, requesting that it use its good offices with Your Excellency’s Government to the end that the United States Maritime Commission may seek to obtain some vessel which can reestablish traffic on the Habana–Key West–Tampa run and that the steamship Shawnee be returned to the New York–Habana service as soon as possible.

Although I recognize the urgency of war needs, and that the withdrawal of the two vessels mentioned is due to that, I shall appreciate it if Your Excellency, should you consider it proper, would be good enough to recommend to the Maritime Commission that it do whatever is possible to remedy the situation created, in the manner it considers most advisable.31

Please accept [etc.]

José Barón
  1. The Chairman of the United States Maritime Commission, Emory S. Land, in a letter of February 12, 1942, in reply to a communication of February 7, 1942, from the Department of State (neither printed), held out little hope for any alleviation of these difficulties (800.8836/722).