837.51 Cooperation Program/66

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

No. 642

Sir: Reference is made to your despatch no. 1914 of April 20, 1941 transmitting a copy of the Cuban Government’s memorandum of April 15 with regard to Export-Import Bank credits for agricultural diversification and development and for public works.

The Department is pleased with the tenor of the Cuban note and with the numerous steps which the Cuban Government has taken in the line of administrative and other reforms.

With regard to items 5, 8, 10 and 11 of the Cuban note, it is particularly gratifying to receive the assurances of the Cuban Government that it is its criterion “to liquidate such obligations as have been properly clarified and fixed by the courts” and that “at any time that a concrete and just claim …76 is presented to the Government of Cuba by an American citizen, (that) Government will [Page 166] give it immediate consideration”. The Department furthermore appreciates the arguments advanced by the Cuban Government against the establishment of a special commission to examine claims. The Department, however, is unable to reconcile with the facts in its possession the statement in item 8 that the Cuban Government has “no information with regard to any appreciable or important claim made upon the Government of Cuba by any American citizen, that has not been settled, with the exception of the Morris claim”. In this connection, reference is made to the three lists of claims of American nationals against the Cuban Government which were enclosed with instruction no. 401 of December 30, 1940.77 Claims in the first list, “which have been acknowledged by the Cuban authorities”, total $458,557.81, not including the Morris claim nor that of J. Livingston and Company (no. 16) which, it is understood, has recently been settled. (No. 7 on list 2, the Drix Duryea, Incorporated, claim, may also now be removed.) Furthermore, on list 3 there appears the claim of $798,000 in which the United States Treasury has a three-fourths interest.

You are requested to discuss these points with Dr. Cortina at an opportune moment for the purpose of indicating to the Foreign Minister our satisfaction with the many cooperative measures which the Cuban Government has taken and to reiterate our expectation that the Cuban Government will give consideration to satisfactory settlements of legitimate claims of American nationals.

In the meantime, while the Department does not desire to place unnecessary additional burdens upon your staff, it desires to receive your comments on instruction no. 401, to which it appears no reply has yet been received.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Sumner Welles
  1. Omission indicated in the original.
  2. Not printed.