The Ambassador in Cuba (Crowder) to the Secretary of State
[Received May 11.]
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the Department’s instruction No. 692 of April 30, 1926, in relation to the desire of the Cuban Government to enter into negotiation for the modification of the Reciprocity Treaty between the two countries. The Department states that careful consideration is being given to the subject in consultation with the Department of Commerce and the Tariff Commission and desires me, pending further instructions, to refrain from an expression of opinion whether the question of revision of the Treaty should be opened.[Page 13]
It is true that I have listened during the past year to the observations of the President and Foreign Office in regard to the necessity of a revision of the Reciprocity Treaty, at the same time desisting from expressing my own views on the subject. From these conversations, as heretofore stated, it is the evident wish of the Cuban Government to obtain modification of the Treaty in such manner as to permit of the adjustment of the preferential in favor of both countries. I of course understand the Department’s desire that pending a decision in the matter the subject should not be discussed and I shall carefully observe the request. Nevertheless, while refraining from comment on the question to officials and others in Cuba I feel it my duty to bring certain subsequent developments to the Department’s attention in order that all the facts may be available for consideration.
On May 5th a meeting of the Cabinet was held at which it was decided that inquiry should be made of the Government of the United States whether it is disposed to open negotiations with the Government of Cuba for the modification of the Treaty under reference. It was also agreed that information should be furnished the Cuban Secretary of State concerning the modifications which it is deemed essential to introduce.
Pursuant to the sense of the meeting of the Cabinet the Secretary of State of Cuba on the same date addressed to me a note, copies and translation of which are enclosed, in which, after reviewing the relations between the two countries so far as they are affected by the Reciprocity Treaty at present in force, I am requested to inquire of my Government whether it would be agreeable to it to open negotiations directed towards revision of the Treaty. I have acknowledged the note without other comment than that it is being referred to my Government for consideration and that when I am informed of the Department’s decision in the matter I shall again communicate with the Foreign Office.
Meanwhile it is advisable to refer once more to the deep seated feeling prevailing in Cuba that changing conditions have rendered the Reciprocity Treaty incompatible with present needs and to the enthusiastic public response to the President’s statements on the subject. This impression is borne out by speeches in Congress and by the almost uniform opinion expressed in the principal journalistic organs of the country looking towards revision of the present agreement. If further proof were needed that the nation attaches fundamental importance to the conduct of the proposed negotiations and is prepared to support the Administration in its efforts to that end, it may be found in a Resolution, of which a copy and translation are [Page 14] attached hereto,7 presented to the Senate on May 3rd by Clemente Vazquez Bello, President of the Senate. The document is a strong one enunciating the complete concord of the Senate with the President’s intention and assuring the President in advance that any modifications to the Treaty which he may see fit to effect will be ratified by that body. The Resolution has not yet been acted on due to lack of a quorum but there is every reason to believe that it will be promptly passed. The reaction of the House of Representatives to the Senate’s action is exemplified in the attached report from El Sol of May 6th7 of interviews with House leaders.
I submit the above data that the Department may appreciate how vitally the issue is here regarded and that in considering whether negotiations may profitably be opened it may weigh the profoundly unfavorable effect, both political and commercial, which an adverse decision would be likely to induce in view of the firm conviction in Cuba that the peculiarly intimate relations of the two countries, with their attendant responsibilities, dictate a frank discussion of the alleged deficiencies in the Reciprocity Treaty.
I have [etc.]