611.3731/1708a

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Cuba ( Beaulac )

No. 592

Sir: The trade-agreements organization is giving active consideration to the desirability of early revision of the trade agreement with Cuba. In this connection it is giving particular attention to the possibility of providing a new concession to Cuba on tobacco and a larger concession with respect to the import duty on sugar, as well as all other aspects of the existing trade agreement, adjustment of which may be found necessary or desirable.

The reopening of negotiations under the time schedule contemplated would involve the making of public announcement before the middle of the present month, with a view to completing negotiations as early as possible in January. It is contemplated dispensing with the so-called preliminary announcement which has been issued in the case of recent trade-agreement negotiations. The first announcement would be the formal announcement of intention to negotiate and would be accompanied by a list of products under consideration for the granting of concessions to Cuba.

The trade-agreements organization is reviewing all aspects of the existing trade agreement with Cuba, with a view to formulating all matters consideration of which will be found necessary or desirable in connection with the proposed negotiations. Since the views of the Embassy, the Consulate General and the Office of the Commercial Attaché will obviously be invaluable in assisting the trade-agreements organization in reaching its conclusions, you are requested to submit to the Department at the earliest practicable date a report embodying [Page 474] the views of the Embassy, the Consulate General and the Office of the Commercial Attaché with respect to the matters which should be included in the scope of the proposed negotiations.

Since the public announcement would, under the procedure contemplated, be accompanied by a list of products to which consideration for the granting of concessions to Cuba would be limited, it will be necessary to decide prior to the issue of such announcement, what products should be included in such listing. It may be that the entire Schedule II of the existing agreement, as signed would be thus listed. In contemplation of the possibility, however, that it might be found advisable to include only a part of that Schedule in the list of products, the Department desires, as of immediate urgency, to have your views as to what products in that Schedule, in addition to sugar and tobacco, should not fail to be included. The Department desires with like urgency to have your recommendations as to what, if any, additional products, not included in Schedule II of the existing agreement, would warrant listing as being the subjects of possible concessions to Cuba. The publication of this list in connection with the announcement of intention to negotiate a trade agreement is for the purpose of affording a definite and inclusive indication, to the public concerned, of all products which may form the subject of changes in our tariff rates as a result of the negotiations; the inclusion of any product in the list, however, does not imply any commitment that a change in the rate will be made, as definite decisions in that respect are not made until after the public hearings.

While no similar listing of Schedule I products accompanies the public announcement of intention to negotiate, the Department desires to receive from you an enumeration of the other subjects, including Schedule I items and general provisions, which in your opinion should without fail be included within the scope even of limited negotiations. Such enumeration is urgently desired in order that it may be considered in reaching a decision as to whether the public announcement should convey any indication of limitation of the scope of the negotiations additional to that involved in the publication of the Schedule II list.

A report from you on the above-mentioned matters of immediate urgency is desired as promptly as possible after the receipt of this instruction, to be followed as soon as convenient thereafter by a more complete report of your views on all aspects of the subject.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Sumner Welles

[For text of the notice of intention to negotiate a supplemental trade agreement, issued on November 30, 1938, see Department of State, Press Releases, December 3, 1938, page 398.]