Memorandum From the Cuban Embassy

It is appropriate to state that the draft of the basic agreement, in pursuance of which Cuba has been loaned the sum of $3,700,000 (of which our country must pay only $2,500,000) differs from the request made by the Minister of State of Cuba in his note of the 14th of April, 1941, which was delivered, together with two memoranda, to the American Ambassador at Habana and in which Cuba made known the minimum of material and implements of war needed most urgently to provide for our defense.
In view of the intimate collaboration and good will prevailing between our two Governments with respect to all problems of the war and hemisphere defense, we believe it most advantageous to include a concrete account of the immediate and unpostponable needs of the Cuban Army and Navy, relating to the material and armament for defense and for cooperation with the United States of America.
The Cuban Government proposes to follow the plan of submitting the list of urgent material which it needs to assure the adequate fulfillment [Page 119] of our definite intention of collaborating with all our energy in the defense of the American hemisphere, together with the United States of America. If we do not follow the plan of indicating specifically which are the materials which we need and should receive a sum of money which would prove subsequently to be insufficient and not permit us to acquire those means of defense necessary to meet the emergency of war, and if Cuba’s work were not as efficient as my Government would desire, we might be blamed for not indicating in a precise manner what are the materials and articles of defense which we shall need in order that our role may be fulfilled with the necessary efficiency.
In the event that technical differences of opinion should arise concerning the matériel requested by the Cuban Army and Navy, with the officers entrusted with these problems by the Government of the United States, our Government suggests that in order to expedite matters, the Government of the United States designate and send one or more officers to negotiate directly with the commanding officers of the Cuban Army and Navy in order to arrive at a definite decision as to which are the indispensable and immediately required articles of defense that should be offered now to the Cuban Government.
It is appropriate to state that these requests refer to the most urgent and immediate necessities, but if the war should become serious and a general mobilization, both of the Army and the Navy, should become necessary, it would then become necessary to take further action in order to dispose of the matériel necessary to render such a mobilization effective. The requests accompanying this memorandum are intended solely to prepare and improve the units of the Army and Navy now in existence.
Our Government desires to make known the impossibility of taking into consideration the offer of $100,000 to be spent on the Navy during the first year of the proposed agreement, since the assistance which this money would render this department would be insignificant when one takes into consideration the importance of the control and defense of the coasts and the enormous expense which the acquisition and maintenance of the indispensable ships and matériel will involve.
The Government of Cuba desires that the conditions of payment for the matériel set forth in the enclosed lists,39 will comprise ample and convenient terms, including such reductions of prices and advantages such as transferring and lending which the Government of the United States may consider it possible to grant within the limits of the law governing the matter.
  1. Not attached to file copy.