U.S. Department of State
Press Statement by Nicholas Burns/Spokesman
July 23, 1997
Implementation of Title IV of the Cuban Liberty and
Democratic Solidarity Act of 1996
ITT Corporation has informed the Department of State that ITT and STET International, the Italian telecommunications company, have, as a business decision, reached an agreement for ten years regarding STET International's use of ITT's confiscated property in Cuba (specifically, the Cuban Telephone System).
We have carefully reviewed the agreement in the context of the Department's responsibility to implement Title IV of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity ("Libertad") Act of 1996. In exchange for a one-time payment by STET International to ITT Corporation, the agreement authorizes STET International and its affiliates "to take any action . . . with respect to the Cuban Telephone System" through the period covered by the agreement, which is ten years from the July 15, 1997 effective date. The Department has concluded that the agreement constitutes "authorization of [a] United States national who holds a claim to the property" consistent with Title IV." The Department has determined that this authorization eliminates, through the period covered by this agreement, any question about whether the activities of STET International with respect to this property constitute "trafficking" within the meaning of Title IV of the Act, provided the agreement is implemented in accordance with its terms. The Department has, therefore, terminated without adverse action the investigation which had been ongoing related to STET International's and its affiliates' use of ITT's confiscated property in Cuba.
This settlement constitutes a major step forward in terms of enforcing Title IV. It reinforces the principle of respect for the property rights of U.S. citizens. It serves as a disincentive to other foreign firms currently operating in or considering investment in confiscated U.S. property in Cuba, without the authorization of the U.S. claimant to the property concerned. We remain strongly committed to vigorous enforcement of Title IV. This monetary settlement sends a clear signal to foreign companies in Cuba using confiscated U.S. property that they will either have to reach agreement with U.S. national claimants in order to obtain authorization, or face visa denial/exclusion sanctions under Title IV.
It is our understanding that the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Department of the Treasury has reviewed the agreement between STET International and ITT, and has issued a license to ITT to authorize it to implement the agreement.
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