837.822/20: Airgram

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

A–1256. Buoys, lights and other aids to navigation in a number of Cuban harbors are either missing or functioning irregularly. Naval Attaché20 has been trying for many months to have Cuban Navy improve the situation but without success. Ambassador sent long memorandum21 on this subject to Prime Minister on May 28 but despite latter’s many promises no action has been taken.

Ambassador and Wilcox,22 WSA representative in the Embassy, discussed this matter recently in Washington with Admiral Land23 (see memorandum of conversation dated June 9, 194324 copy of which was forwarded to Embassy by Department) and it was agreed that WSA would make available materials, etc. for the replacement of markers, utilizing the technical assistance of Admiral Weyler,25 Commandant of the United States Naval Operating Base at Guantanamo Bay.

After the return of Wilcox from Washington I wrote to the Prime Minister under date of June 1921 stating that the United States Government would install these aids to navigation if agreeable to the Cuban Government. The Prime Minister has now consented and Admiral Weyler is sending an officer to survey Nuevitas Bay where the situation is most urgent.

Wilcox sent telegram HAB 112 on June 1821 to Westerlund,26 WSA, Washington, to request Commandant of Coast Guard to instruct survey [Page 143] vessel now at Guantànamo Bay to remain here under Weylers direction to assist survey and installation of markers and buoys. Westerlund has just replied stating that survey vessel comes under jurisdiction of Hydrographic Office and suggesting that Weyler make formal request to Navy Department, which is being done.

I should greatly appreciate it if Department would discuss this; matter with WSA and Navy Department with a view to insuring early action as the case is urgent. Liberty vessels cannot at present enter Nuevitas Bay with any safety and similar situation exists at other ports, which will be surveyed as soon as possible.

  1. Col. Hayne D. Boyden.
  2. Not printed.
  3. M. L. Wilcox, Director, Caribbean District, War Shipping Administration.
  4. Emory S. Land, Administrator, War Shipping Administration.
  5. Memorandum by George F. Scherer of the Division of the American Republics, not printed.
  6. Adm. George Weyler.
  7. Not printed.
  8. Not printed.
  9. W. N. Westerlund, Assistant Deputy Administrator.