The Secretary of State to the Cuban Ambassador (Martínez Fraga)

Excellency: You will recall that pursuant to conversations with officials of your Government which established a mutual readiness to undertake the negotiation of a supplemental trade agreement between the United States and Cuba, there was issued by my Government on November 30, 1938 a public announcement62 of intention to negotiate such an agreement, together with an accompanying list of products, the text of this announcement and list having previously been shown to you and having received your concurrence on behalf of your Government.

The public hearings scheduled by this announcement were duly held in Washington on January 3 and 4, 1939, and thereafter the appropriate Departments of my Government have been engaged in making the customary studies of the information received orally and in writing as a result of the announcement in question. These studies having been sufficiently completed, I now have the honor to submit, in the form of the memorandum which is enclosed,63 the proposals of my Government with respect to the modification and amplification of the [Page 559] provisions of Schedules I and II of the existing trade agreement64 between our countries which it is the purpose of the projected supplemental negotiations to effect.

Studies are also being made at the present time of certain questions related to the general provisions of the existing agreement, as well as of certain special problems affecting the trade between our countries. Upon the completion of these studies at an early date it is anticipated that certain further proposals respecting these matters will be formulated and that such proposals will accordingly be communicated to you in the near future.

In the formulation of the proposals relative to Schedules I and II of the existing trade agreement, account was taken of the views of your Government as communicated in Your Excellency’s note of February 16, 1939,65 the receipt of which was acknowledged on March 4, 1939.65 With respect to the list of products set forth in your note under reference, as being those on which your Government desired concessions in the proposed supplemental trade agreement, it is noted that the concessions proposed in some instances constitute simply a reaffirmation of concessions already provided in the existing trade agreement. Since it is proposed to negotiate simply a supplemental agreement which will leave the existing agreement undisturbed except in respect of those specific provisions which may be the subject of modification in the proposed supplemental agreement, it is manifestly unnecessary to provide specifically for the continuance of existing concessions.

With respect to the remaining products mentioned in this connection on behalf of your Government, I must point out that in my Government’s public announcement of November 30, 1938 regarding the proposed negotiations, which as I have mentioned was previously brought to your attention, it was stated that, unless further announcement were made, consideration of changes in import duties applicable to Cuban products imported into the United States would be confined to products enumerated in a list which accompanied the announcement in question, which was also brought to Your Excellency’s attention. In order therefore to consider the possibility of granting new or additional concessions on products mentioned in Your Excellency’s note of February 16 but not included in the list published by my Government on November 30, it would be necessary for my Government to issue further public announcement listing such products, to hold additional public hearings, and to await the subsequent completion of the necessary studies by the appropriate Government Departments. Since this would necessitate an extended deferment of the conclusion of the proposed negotiations for a supplemental agreement, and [Page 560] since it is presumed that in the view of your Government as well as of mine the expeditious conclusion of these negotiations is to be desired, the proposals formulated on behalf of my Government and communicated herewith are confined, with reference to those affecting rates of import duty in the United States, to products included in the published list which accompanied my Government’s announcement of November 30, 1938.

In this connection I wish also to acknowledge the receipt of Your Excellency’s further note of April 13, 1939,66 with its enclosures, requesting a reduction in the duty imposed on imports of fresh, chilled, and frozen beef into the United States from Cuba, and to state that your Government’s request has had our sympathetic consideration, but that for the reasons aforesaid it is not deemed practicable to include this matter within the scope of the present negotiations.

Accordingly, the proposals of my Government respecting rates of import duty in Cuba, set forth in the enclosed memorandum,66 are limited to a moderate list of requests considered by my Government to be a fair equivalent for the proposed additional concessions for the benefit of Cuban products imported into the United States, also set forth in the enclosed memorandum.

It may be noted, with respect to sugar, that the quantity of Cuban sugar which may enter the United States, and the amount of such sugar which may enter in the form of direct-consumption sugar are now determined by the quota provisions of the Sugar Act of 1937.67 The announcement which was issued by my Government in connection with the public notice of intention to negotiate the supplementary agreement, in referring to the limited character of the proposed negotiations, stated that in the case of sugar consideration would be given to a further reduction of the import duty on Cuban sugar. It is not possible, therefore, to give consideration to the request of the Cuban Government for an annual sugar quota of 2,000,000 tons, of which 22 percent may enter the United States in a refined state.

The proposals contained in Your Excellency’s note of February 16 relating to suggested changes in the general provisions of the existing trade agreement, including the question of a definition of the term “dumping”, and for an addition to the note on pharmaceutical products which is to be found in Schedule I of the existing agreement, as well as the proposal made in Your Excellency’s note of April 5,66 relative to Article XI of the existing agreement, are receiving attentive consideration, and my Government’s views on these matters will be communicated to you in connection with its proposals relating to [Page 561] the general provisions and other special problems, which, as I have said, are expected to be ready for transmittal at an early date.

Accept [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Francis B. Sayre
  1. Department of State, Press Releases, December 3, 1938, pp. 398–400.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Signed at Washington August 24, 1934, Foreign Relations, 1934, vol. v, p. 169.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Not printed.
  7. Not printed.
  8. Approved September 1, 1937; 50 Stat. 903.
  9. Not printed.