Memorandum of Telephone Conversations, by the Acting Chief of the Division of the American Republics (Bonsal)

Señor Oscar García Montes, who became Cuban Minister of Finance on about July 17, spent the week ending July 14 in Washington discussing with Mr. Mersereau of the Export-Import Bank the terms of the authorizing legislation to be presented to the Cuban [Page 189] Congress in connection with the $25,000,000 Export-Import Bank credit. This document as agreed upon was then referred to the Cuban Government.

Ambassador Messersmith telephoned on the afternoon of July 18 to say that he had just been called by the Cuban Foreign Minister, Dr. Cortina, who stated that he had been authorized by President Batista to inform the Ambassador that the draft of the authorizing act was completely satisfactory with the Cuban Government. The Cuban Government now awaits the formal approval of this Government, presumably to be given through Mr. Pierson of the Export-Import Bank, in order to present the proposed legislation to the Cuban Congress85 with an appropriate message. The Cuban Government wishes to proceed rapidly in the matter.

Ambassador Messersmith stated that the Cuban Government planned to add to the draft approved by García Montes and Mersereau a clause derogating the law of last September which authorized the well-known $50,000,000 loan.

(Both Mr. Mersereau and Mr. Pierson later expressed their complete approval of this additional clause.)

Following my conversation with Ambassador Messersmith I telephoned Mr. Pierson who said that he had only just read the proposed legislation. He stated that it was his general feeling that possibly the legislation gave the Bank and the proposed Commission too much power and that we might wish to propose modifications in this set-up.

On the morning of July 19 Ambassador Messersmith telephoned again. He gave it as his very strong opinion that the various controls to be exercised by the Bank and by the Commission were extremely necessary and that they were heartily accepted by the Cuban Government. He furthermore stated that the opposition in Congress would be much more apt to vote the authorizing legislation if these controls and powers were there. He gave it as his considered opinion that we should accept the authorizing legislation as drawn up by Mersereau and García Montes. I said that the Department would give the matter further thought and endeavor to telephone him on July 21.

On July 21, and as a result of further consideration of the proposed legislation, Mr. Warren Lee Pierson of the Bank, and Mr. Collado and Mr. Bonsal of the Department agreed that some changes should be made which would decrease the extent to which the Bank would become involved in Cuban domestic affairs. This decision was communicated by telephone to Ambassador Messersmith, who was advised that a draft of the proposed new articles would be forwarded to him shortly.

  1. The Cuban House of Representatives passed the Export-Import Credit Bill on November 20, 1941.