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

No. 1166

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s instruction No. 422 [442] of March 11, 1925, transmitting certain articles, dealing with consular rights, from a convention signed by representatives of the United States and Germany on December 8, 1923.

It will be recalled that in the Department’s instruction No. 458 of April 9, 1925,23 the Embassy was authorized to defer the proposed treaty negotiations with Cuba until after the administration of General Machado had been established. Inasmuch, however, as it was the intention of this administration to retain Dr. Carlos Manuel de Céspedes as Secretary of State, I transmitted to him on May 5, 1925, drafts of the proposed treaties, among them the Consular Convention, in order that he might have an opportunity to study them in advance of the actual negotiations, which were to be taken up as soon as possible after the inauguration of the President on May 20, 1925. A copy of the suggested draft of the consular convention which was sent to Secretary Céspedes with my note of May 5, 1925, is to be found as Exhibit No. 2 of Enclosure No. 123 to this despatch.

The installation of the new administration naturally made delay in the consideration of current business inevitable, and the subsequent illness of Secretary Céspedes again deferred the negotiations. Finally, however, under date of August 22 [12?], 1925, I received a communication from Dr. Céspedes, a copy of which is transmitted herewith as enclosure No. 1,23 which submitted certain comments on the draft convention submitted by the Embassy and enclosed a counter-draft for the consideration of the American Government.

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Informal discussions concerning the character of the changes proposed by the Cuban Government and the reasons therefor have been held with both Dr. Céspedes and Dr. Gutiérrez, the legal adviser of the Cuban Department of State. It appears that the Cuban Government is animated by certain very natural wishes in connection with the negotiation of the new treaties, and these wishes were frankly explained. In the first place, the Cuban Government feels that the Spanish texts of the treaties now in force between the United States and Cuba are obviously merely translations of the English texts and that the impression therefore conveyed to any one who studies these treaties is that the texts thereof were dictated by the United States and then literally translated into Spanish. Both Dr. Céspedes and Dr. Gutiérrez expressed the earnest desire that the texts of the new treaties being negotiated, and particularly that of the Consular Treaty, should be expressed in idiomatic Spanish as well as idiomatic English and that due regard should be had for Spanish phraseology.

A second point which was raised in connection with the Consular Treaty was the desire of the Cuban Government to make this convention a model convention—one which could be used as a basis not only for future treaties between Cuba and other foreign countries but also as a model for Latin-America in general.

Dr. Céspedes, during the course of our conversations, referred several times to Article II of Project No. 23 concerning consuls as prepared by the American Institute of International Law at the request of the Board of Directors of the Pan American Union. It appears that on March 6, 1925, the Board resolved to send this project to the Governments members of the Union24 in order that their comments might be submitted to the Commission of Jurists which will meet at Rio de Janeiro on August 2, 1926.

It is the frankly expressed desire of the Cuban Government to conclude the negotiation, signature and ratification of the Consular Treaty with the United States prior to that date in order that Cuba may be able to present to the conference at Rio de Janeiro a fait accompli in the line of model consular conventions.

It is possible that the Department may be willing to concur in certain of the changes suggested by the Cuban Government as being more applicable to Latin-American countries whose penal codes are based on Spanish models and whose jurisprudence follows Latin rather than Anglo-Saxon practices.

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I have [etc.]

E. H. Crowder
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.
  4. The resolutions were approved by the Governing Board on March 2; March 6 was the date of the letter of certification by the Secretary of the Governing Board; see Codification of American International Law (Washington, Pan American Union, 1925) p. 4.