Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of the American Republics (Walmsley)

The Ambassador32 telephoned at 10:30 saying he had received the Department’s telegram (no. 414)32a of instructions regarding the trade agreement. He mentioned the Under Secretary’s telephone call of yesterday and said that the Department could count on him to handle the presentation of the proposed exchange of notes with his full energies. He thought he had at least a 50–50 chance of success.

He had some questions to ask as follows:

What would be the timing of the signature of the proposed exchange of notes. I stated they should be signed and exchanged simultaneously with signature of the trade agreement.
He wished to know what happens under the exchange of notes procedure to the sugar note in the present trade agreement. I informed the Ambassador that an instruction forwarding the final text of the supplementary trade agreement had been signed last night and should answer this question. Nevertheless, after our conversation I transferred the Ambassador to Mr. Fowler of TA.33 (At 12:30 p.m. December 19 the Ambassador had still not received the instruction, and he asked that TA slip an extra copy of the trade agreement text into an envelope this afternoon to be sent airmail. I so requested Mr. Leddy.33a)
The Ambassador stated that Gerald Smith should be sent instructions about departure. This has been done.
As to timing the signature of the trade agreement and exchange of notes, the Ambassador was in complete agreement also with the Department that first the legislative situation must be cleared up. It was agreed that the Department should notify the Ambassador the moment final action is taken by the Congress.
The Ambassador expected to see Cortina and the other Ministers the evening of the 18th. They were busy during the day at the Congress with the bill to grant emergency powers to the President.

[For text of the second supplementary trade agreement between the United States and Cuba signed December 23, 1941, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 229, or 55 Stat. (pt. 2) 1449; for an analysis of the general provisions of the agreement, see Department of State Bulletin, December 27, 1941, pages 603 ff.]

  1. Mr. Messersmith, Ambassador in Cuba.
  2. Supra.
  3. William A. Fowler, Assistant Chief, Division of Commercial Policy and Agreements.
  4. John M. Leddy, of the Division of Commercial Policy and Agreements.