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

No. 726

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For the Department’s convenience, I will résumé here the conditions under which I believe we could begin any conversations with the Cuban Government with respect to economic and/or financial cooperation.

We can under no circumstances. I believe, begin any conversations with the Cuban Government on either economic or financial cooperation before the Cuban Congress has passed the Bill and the President has approved the Bill satisfying the claims of Warren Brothers and Purdy and Henderson on the basis of the November 1938 agreement between the Cuban Government and the creditors.61
Before beginning such conversations I believe the Cuban Government should have taken appropriate action through the Congress to prolong Decree Law 522 without substantial alteration which governs the allocation of sugar quotas in Cuba.

Once the above have been satisfactorily carried through by the Cuban Government we could begin conversations in which, in my opinion, the following matters must be discussed among others.

Reorganization of the Treasury Department and the acceptance of an American expert or adviser in that Department.
Possible reorganization of other administrative Departments of the Cuban Government in order to provide an honest and effective administration in the interests of Cuba.
A satisfactory settlement of the Morris claim,62 in which there has been an adjudication of the Supreme Court, and a satisfactory settlement of the Habana Coal Company situation.
Assurances of an adequate character with respect to possible legislation of a social character, so that undue and impossible burdens may not be placed on business interests here and the Cuban economy destroyed from within.
Assurances that there will not be unsound or discriminatory legislation affecting American interests.
Assurances that Cuba will not start lending, at our expense, money to those who are unable to secure credit from private banks as a result of moratorium legislation.
A careful examination of the budgetary and tax situation.
Negotiation of a treaty of commerce which has been pending for some time.
[Page 775]

It is not intended that the foregoing should be a complete statement of the subjects to be discussed in such conversations with Cuba, but only a statement of those subjects which I believe it is indispensable to discuss and to reach satisfactory agreement before any economic assistance or financial aid can be granted to Cuba.

Respectfully yours,

George S. Messersmith
  1. For correspondence regarding the above claims, see pp. 743 ff.
  2. Claim based on a decision of the Cuban Supreme Court providing compensation for land seized by the Cuban Government.