The Ambassador in Cuba (Norweb) to the Secretary of State

No. 2495

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s secret air mail instruction No. 1082 of October 21, 1946 and previous correspondence concerning a proposed exchange of notes between the Cuban Ministry of State and this Embassy with respect to the sale to the Henri Schueg Chassin Company of the so-called new or second water supply system at the Guantánamo Naval Base—so that the Base can enter into a contract with the Company for this water supply after having eliminated any possibility of question arising concerning present United States Government ownership of such facilities outside of the Base area.

Dr. Gonzalo Güell of the Cuban Ministry of State, who has been discussing the wording of the proposed exchange of notes, with officers of the Embassy, has agreed to the incorporation of the provisions specified in the last paragraph of the Department’s air mail instruction No. 1082—after appropriate consultation between Dr. Güell and the Acting Minister of State. At the same time, the Ministry of State has withdrawn one of the four requested “conditions” reported to the Department in this Embassy’s despatch No. 1888 of July 16, 1946. Dr. Guell says that the Cuban Government now prefers to omit mention of the provision (specified as (2) in our despatch No. 1888, and (b) in the draft proposal of the Ministry of State) that Cuba would protect the second water works area in case of war, “in consultation and cooperation with the United States”, It is now the Cuban view, with which this Embassy agrees—and with which it is assumed the Department is in accord—that this is a hypothetical question which would be dealt with promptly and drastically in the most practicable cooperative way and that any effort to anticipate such a momentous eventuality in a simple exchange of notes of this kind would be superfluous and somewhat incongruous.

The Commandant of the Naval Base at Guantánamo has kindly provided a general but concise description of the second water supply system which has been included in the first paragraph of the draft of the notes.

As a result of discussions with Dr. Güell, no further modification in this Embassy’s proposed note is required so far as this Embassy is aware. There is enclosed, for the files of the Department, a copy of the draft as it is now being studied and discussed further among officials of the Cuban Government. Presumably, the Cuban reply will be [Page 718] essentially a duplication and approval of the wording in the enclosed draft.35

Respectfully yours,

R. Henry Norweb
  1. Draft of note not printed; an exchange of notes between Ambassador Norweb and the Cuban Minister of State on April 26, 1947, authorized the subsequent sale of the second waterworks system to the Henri Schueg Chassin Company (811.34537/4–2847).