837.00/3525: Telegram

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

58. I have had two conferences with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Agriculture regarding the concessions which the Cuban Government would be willing to make to the United States in a reciprocal trade agreement provided that the United States Government were able to make the concessions to Cuban sugar discussed in a general way before my departure for Washington. I have found a general disposition to grant to the United States, those advantages to our agricultural exports and our principal manufactures which we consider necessary. There is a natural desire to afford protection to legitimate Cuban industries and further the desire as already reported to the Department not to impair [Page 294] the advantages now possessed in Cuba by Great Britain for her textiles and certain other categories of imports, the latter of which do not compete materially with American products.

The general theory maintained by the Cuban Government is that of making such concessions to us as will balance whatever advantages we may be willing to concede them.

I shall hold the last of these conferences tomorrow since Dr. Ferrara’s departure for London makes it impossible to continue them for the time being. I shall, in full, detail to the Department the results of my three conferences on this topic early next week.

I have emphasized repeatedly to the Cuban Government that these conversations were solely for the purpose of exchanging views and of ascertaining in general what the Cuban Government would be prepared to do for us were the Government of the United States willing and able to enter into a new commercial agreement with Cuba. I have reiterated that we could not under present conditions make any definite proposals and that in consequence we did not ask any positive commitments at this juncture from the Cuban Government.