837.51 Cooperation Program/85

Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Walter N. Walmsley, Jr., of the Division of the American Republics

Participants: Mr. Welles
Ambassador Messersmith
Mr. Bonsal68
Mr. Collado69
Mr. Walmsley

A meeting was held to discuss the type and amount of financial assistance to Cuba which the Department would request of the Export-Import Bank. Ambassador Messersmith appeared satisfied with the recommendation of the Division that the Bank be requested to make a commitment up to $25,000,000 for agricultural development and diversification and public works and a tentative commitment of $5,000,000 for eventual establishment of a central bank. The question of the Habana water works which the bank is known to consider as a very much worth while project was left for later consideration, Ambassador Messersmith having stated that the letter from the Bank to the Mayor of Habana approving the project in principle had not been delivered because of the undesirability of giving preference to the municipal government’s request over the request of the central government.

[Page 157]

In going over the problem of financial assistance the question was brought up of amortization terms. Ambassador Messersmith pointed out that the advances for long-term projects such as water works must be given amortization terms considerably longer than the bank has been giving up to now. A letter from the Under Secretary to Mr. Jones recommending the credits along the lines indicated above was approved by the meeting and immediately signed by the Under Secretary. Ambassador Messersmith planned to deliver the letter personally that afternoon.

In the course of the discussion the Under Secretary stressed the importance of keeping out hare-brained “turismo” projects from among those which the Cuban Government might endeavor to present. Thought should however be given, the Under Secretary added, to the desirability of eventually building a first-class hotel at Varadero Beach.

  1. Philip W. Bonsal, Acting Chief of the Division of the American Republics.
  2. Emilio G. Collado of the Division of the American Republics.