611.373 Sugar/604

The Cuban Minister of State (Cortina) to the American Ambassador in Cuba (Messersmith)96



—The Government of Cuba, with regard to the conventions in force with respect to the entry of Cuban sugar into the United States, ratifies all the viewpoints and petitions made in its Memorandum of December 27, 1940.97
—However, in view of the urgency of the needs of the sugar economy of Cuba, and without prejudice to the discussion of all the problems stated in the memorandum which we refer to in the preceding paragraph, we hereby formulate before the Government of the United States of America the petition that it provide a supplementary addition to the Reciprocity Treaty in force,98 with regard to sugar, to consist in that the Honorable President of the United States of America make use of the right which the laws in force in the United States grant unto him, to reduce by fifteen points the Custom duties paid by Cuban sugar upon its entry in the United States of America.
—We are desirous that this petition be discussed and decided upon by the Government of the United States of America, at the earliest possible date. We base our request on the evident disadvantage suffered by Cuban producers by reason of the Customs duties that they are obliged to pay at the present time in the American Custom Houses.
—Social legislation of a constitutional nature at present in force in Cuba has considerably increased the wages of laborers. The war freight rates are practically annulling all the increases in prices of sugar for exportation for the Cuban producer; and the Cuban sugar industry which is and always shall be a great economic and war reserve [Page 197] for the United States, is suffering a depression in a condition that might progressively lead to its disappearance.
—On the other hand, our imports from the United States, rather than diminishing by reason of the war, have increased, inasmuch as the Cuban people at the present time purchase in the United States almost all of the products that were formerly purchased in Europe.
—The Reciprocity Treaty, in force between Cuba and the United States, operates with a visible inequality for our producers who see no increase in their facilities for exportation, while the American producer has extraordinarily improved his position as compared to previous conventions.
—In this respect we cannot hesitate to point to the fact that Cuba has granted, in an indirect but effective manner, special advantages to American rice which was formerly imported in Cuba in insignificant quantities, and that this product at the present time has reached a figure greater than $7,000,000 per annum, and for this special concession the Government of Cuba has received no compensation by way of reciprocity.
—We believe that with these arguments we have proved the justice of our request, which tends simply to have the Honorable President of the United States of America, in use of his legal authority, reduce the custom duties paid by Cuban sugar on its entry in the United States to the rate of 0.75 per pound.
J. M. Cortina
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Ambassador in Cuba in his despatch No. 1913, April 20; received April 22.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Trade agreement signed August 24, 1934. For text, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 67, or 49 Stat. (pt. 2) 3559; for correspondence concerning this treaty, see Foreign Relations, 1934, vol. v, pp. 108 ff.