The Treasury Department has notified CBS News that the network is free once again to relay by satelite its news reports from Cuba.
On May 22, the State Department refused CBS permission to use Comsat Corp. satellite facilities for the broadcast of a two-minute report from Havana on the growing economic problems confronting the Castro regime.
State Department officials ruled at the time that the report did not involve a "specific event of immediate international importance" and therefore was not eligible for an exemption from the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba as had been granted in the past to allow television news broadcasts by satellite from Cuba.
Comsat, which represents the United States in the Intelstat global communications system, must receive permission from the Federal Communications Commission before it accepts transmissions from Cuba. The FCC, in turn, routinely consults with the Treasury Department, which administers the trade embargo, and the State Department before granting permission.
On May 22, it was the State Department that said no to CBS. The report in question, by the network's Latin American correspondent, Charles Gomez, was subsequently shipped by airplane to the United States and was shown on CBS a few days later.
A spokesman for CBS News said yesterday that the notification of reversal was forwarded from the Treasury Department late Friday with no explanation. Nor was there any ready explanation as to why Treasury, instead of the State Department, announced the policy change.
William A. Leonard, president of CBS News, who had criticized the original decision, said yesterday he welcomed the policy reversal.
"It's always gratifying," said Leonar,"when the bureaucratic processes, even if they get temporarily off the track, come to a sensible conclusion."