811.20(D) Regulations/6234: Telegram

The Chargé in Cuba (Briggs) to the Secretary of State

163. For Scherer.39 Unless a supply of newsprint reaches Habana early next week most of the newspapers in Cuba will be forced to cease publication. With the exception of Marina, all Habana papers have drastically reduced the number of pages. Mundo now publishes only one edition greatly reduced in size and has stopped its circulation in the eastern half of Cuba. The Reciprocal Trading Company here which sells newsprint to all of the large Habana newspapers and to the principal papers in the interior has supplied the following [Page 350] information which the Embassy considers accurate and which checks with estimates obtained from other sources:

Fourteen Habana newspapers consume a total of 77 rolls of newsprint per day. As of yesterday their combined stocks consisted of about 362 rolls. Some newspapers have no newsprint whatever and are maintaining restricted publication by the purchase of a few rolls on a daily basis from other newspapers still possessing small stocks.
Of the four principal provincial newspapers, three are now without newsprint and the fourth has a supply for about one week.
Of the three largest weekly magazines published in Habana, two have no paper whatever and one has enough for only two more issues.

Publishers and editors are naturally greatly concerned and many believe that our Government is not making a serious effort to help them. Ships continue to arrive in Habana from New York with general cargo but no newsprint and publishers cannot understand why, if no space for newsprint is available on vessels from New York, it cannot be arranged to transport supplies of newsprint by railroad freight to a Florida port for transshipment by car, ferry, or otherwise; it is, of course, highly important in terms of our good offices in Cuba that local newspapers not be forced to suspend publication due to our inability to arrange shipment of minimum necessities of newsprint from the United States. Publishers have exercised considerable patience thus far but always on the assumption their minimum needs will be met.

  1. George F. Scherer of the Division of the American Republics.