The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Cuba ( Messersmith )

No. 793

Sir: With reference to the proposed establishment of a complementary joint military zone adjacent to the United States Naval Station at Guantánamo, there is transmitted for your confidential information only, pending notification of the views of the Navy Department, a copy of a draft agreement23 which embodies the principles which the Department considers essential to the success of cooperative hemisphere defense measures of this kind.

[Page 112]

These principles are for your convenience summarized below:

The establishment by the Cuban Government of a joint defense area.
The formation of a board composed of Cuban and United States officers to administer defense activities in the area.
A pledge by the Cuban Government to acquire by condemnation or lease the lands which may be necessary for defense purposes within the area.
A commitment by the United States to reimburse the Cuban Government for all reasonable expenses incurred by the Cuban Government in connection with lands occupied by United States defense installations approved by the joint board.
Provisions designed to give the United States the necessary police powers to protect its installations. So far as possible policing should be on a cooperative basis.
The term of the agreement might be for ten years or for the duration of the jointly recognized emergency.

It has been the Department’s purpose in drafting the proposed agreement to avoid such undesirable features as lease provisions, sole United States jurisdiction, alienation of foreign territorial sovereignty, and the like. It is hoped that this type of agreement may serve as a model for any similar agreements with any other American republics which the requirements of continental defense may necessitate.

Very truly yours,

Sumner Welles
  1. Not printed.