The Minister in Cuba ( Long ) to the Secretary of State

No. 445

Sir: Referring to previous correspondence on the rice matter I have the honor to enclose, herewith, a copy of a letter which I addressed to the President of Cuba on the 4th instant urging that some satisfactory solution be arrived at immediately in this case.

As reported in my telegram (No. 234) of October 7th,84 the representatives in Habana of the California Rice Association were informed by General Agramonte that licenses have been issued to cover the importation of 29,500 bags of rice contracted for before September 6th, and that other requests for licenses of the same category are now pending decision. With full knowledge of this the representatives of the Rice Association came to an agreement with General Agramonte for remedial action to be taken within the first 10 days of November—that is after the Cuban national elections. The rice representatives are most anxious that the fact that this arrangement has been come to, and the details thereof, should be kept strictly confidential. I have, therefore, reported the details only in my personal and confidential letter to the Honorable, The Secretary of State, of the 7th instant.85

I have [etc.]

Boaz W. Long

The American Minister ( Long ) to President Menocal

Dear Mr. President: I am in receipt of an urgent instruction from Washington in relation to rice, the substance of which I should like to bring to your personal attention at an early date, but having been told that Secretary Agramonte has indicated to Doctor Bustamante [Page 81] a desire to confer with the rice people on the 5th instant, and assuming that you have no objection thereto, it would appear to be preferable to await the result of that conference.

There seem to be three ways in which it can be settled. First, issue the decree as agreed upon by the Secretary of Agriculture, the rice people and your office on August 17th; secondly, issue the decree recently prepared by Doctor Bustamante; thirdly, modify the decree promulgated September 6th by prohibiting importation for six months, i.e., to March 6, 1921, by saying applications for licenses must be countersigned by President—that decree is not retroactive—and if possible remove preamble and cancel article six. Maybe if Doctor Agramonte had a word from you he could settle the matter in tomorrow’s conference.

I was considerably depressed to learn from you last Thursday morning, that there were objections to parts of the new decree as prepared by Doctor Bustamante. I inferred, however, that the question of extending the decree of September 6th to provide for six months license of importations was acceptable, which meant that no new rice would be licensed for import until the present stocks had been consumed or reduced to normal.

You told us at “El Chico” on the 21st ultimo also, that you thought the old decree should not be retroactive, which meant that the importers need not remove from the docks rice in port prior to the promulgation of the decree.

As this is a personal letter I see no reason why I may not say that the introduction to the decree of September 6th is most objectionable. Doctor Montoro is understood to have promised Mr. White that it would be deleted, and it would be a happy circumstance if this might now be accomplished.

If the old decree were modified to provide for an airtight prohibition against importations of rice for six months, and if the clauses relating to the removal from the docks were not retroactive and clause six were removed, the old decree might prove to be acceptable to the rice people. After these months of negotiations I am sure both you and I would be glad to see a settlement reached.

I am [etc.]

Boaz W. Long
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not found in Department files.