837.51 Cooperation Program/89

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

No. 702

Sir: Reference is made to your despatch no. 2086 of May 29 [28], 194180 stating that the Cuban Government desires to include in the legislation authorizing the $25,000,000 Export-Import Bank credit an authorization to contract a further credit of $5,000,000 for the establishment of Cuban banking facilities.

It would appear to the Department that for the Cuban Government to include in the law covering agricultural and public works credit a provision to permit the Government to contract as well for an additional loan to fulfill a banking project might constitute a repetition of the serious mistake of September 1940 in passing the so-called $50,000,000 loan law without previous consultation with this Government. It is to be feared that the inclusion of the proposed banking provisions may lead to the undesired conclusion by Cuban public opinion that details of the bank have been worked out and that this Government is committed for the $5,000,000 specified for the bank (when such commitment has not yet been made as to either amount or purpose).

It would accordingly be, in the Department’s opinion, prudent to remind the Cuban authorities to whom you have mentioned the Federal Loan Agency’s attitude toward the bank project that you did so confidentially and in the frank spirit which has characterized your relations with them, and that to publicize the matter at this time may jeopardize the project’s success. You may repeat that this Government continues ready to lend the necessary experts to assist in formulating a definite banking project and the corresponding basic legislation, [Page 171] both of which are prerequisites to the careful examination of any request the Cuban Government may eventually make for the bank credit.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Sumner Welles
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