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

No. 641

Sir: Referring further to your despatch No. 1226 of November 3, 1925 in regard to the desire of the Government of Cuba to enter into negotiations with the United States for the conclusion of a convention for the suppression of false indications of Cuban origin, the Department desires that you communicate with the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the sense of the following:

The competent authorities of the Government of the United States26 who have carefully considered the proposal of the Cuban Government, are of the opinion that the existing laws of the United States relating to unfair trade practices are adequate to afford effective protection to any Cuban interest which might be injuriously affected by the manufacture or sale in the United States of any commodity falsely represented as of Cuban origin and accordingly there would not appear to be any need for a convention on the subject between the two countries.

With respect to the proposed restriction of the use in the United States of the words “Cuba”, “Habana”, “Vuelta Abajo” and “any other geographical term of the Republic of Cuba”, it may be observed that the use of those words in connection with goods sold in this country seems to be confined principally to manufactured articles which are made of materials actually produced in Cuba. The Department is of the opinion, therefore, that no element of false indication of origin is involved in the use of the words mentioned in connection with such articles and it is believed that this legitimate use of the words under discussion beneficially advertises and creates a greater demand for the Cuban products thereby materially adding to their value by insuring a greater market for their consumption.

It is believed, therefore, that the proposed convention would effect no result favorable to either country but on the contrary would injuriously affect the interests of both countries by interfering with and impairing the business of legitimate organizations in the United States engaged in the manufacture or sale of articles involving the [Page 39] use of Cuban products thereby materially reducing the volume of those products imported into the United States with consequent loss to the Cuban producers of those products.

In bringing the foregoing to the attention of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, you are requested to assure him of this Government’s desire to cooperate with the Cuban Government for the prevention or elimination of any unfair use in the United States of the words “Cuba”, “Habana”, “Vuelta Abajo” or “any other geographical term of the Republic of Cuba”, and to state that upon receipt of evidence of the existence of unfair practices with respect to the use of those words, this Government will use every available means for the elimination of such practices.

There are transmitted herewith for your information copies of letters from the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Agriculture dated January 13, 1926,27 expressing their views in regard to the proposal of the Cuban Government and the draft convention submitted by that Government which accompanied your despatch under reference.

If you consider that the imparting to the Cuban Government of the views herein expressed might prejudice the present negotiations regarding smuggling operations28 you may defer their presentation to that Government unless an expression on the subject is requested as a condition precedent to the conclusion of the present negotiations or the withholding thereof might be regarded as evidence of bad faith on the part of this Government.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Joseph C. Grew
  1. The Departments of Commerce and Agriculture.
  2. Neither printed.
  3. See convention signed Mar. 4, 1926, p. 23.