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

No. 733

Sir: With further reference to my confidential despatches No. 726 of August 31, 1940, and No. 728 of September 3, 1940,68 I now have to [Page 777] transmit a memorandum of a conversation69 with the Secretary of the Treasury, Dr. Montoulieu, which is confirmatory of opinions expressed by me in these despatches. It is quite clear that the initiative for this loan came from Ambassador Martínez Fraga who is now in Habana. It is quite clear that the message was transmitted in this unusual way on the direction of the President-elect, Colonel Batista, who now holds no official position in the Cuban Government. Although the telegram was sent by the Cuban Ambassador here as being on behalf of the Cuban Government, the Secretary of State,70 the immediate superior of the Ambassador, had no knowledge of this telegram being forwarded before it was transmitted and did not know of it until several days later. The Secretary of the Treasury had no knowledge of the approaches to our Government with regard to a loan, and with regard to the Ambassador’s telegram, until after the telegram had been transmitted. Whether the President, Dr. Laredo Brú, had any information with respect thereto before the telegram was sent, I am not able to say.

It will be noted that the President-elect, Colonel Batista, frankly stated to Secretary Montoulieu that he wanted this loan because he did not wish to reduce Government expenditures, including salaries, and he was not prepared to discuss the recommendations which Dr. Montoulieu had made for reductions in the budget to bring it in line with the income of the Government.

Respectfully yours,

George S. Messersmith
  1. Latter not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Miguel Angel Campa.