837.61351/2620: Telegram

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

313. The Office of Production Management has recommended that the Federal Loan Agency, acting through the Defense Supplies Corporation, make arrangements to acquire the entire 1942 sugar crop of Cuba. The Defense Supplies Corporation is ready to proceed immediately with negotiations. You are requested to inform the Cuban Government in confidence of this proposal and to invite it in behalf of the Federal Loan Agency to send suitable representatives to Washington for this purpose if the proposal meets with the approval of the Cuban Government. (The Department relies upon you to convey in a discreet fashion the importance of selecting qualified negotiators.)

The Department feels that this proposal goes a long way toward meeting the aspiration of the Cuban Government and the sugar industry to be consulted, as expressed in Foreign Minister Cortina’s letter of August 13 to you.56 The Department is convinced therefore that the Cuban Government should be receptive to the proposal and will cooperate in every reasonable way to assure orderly marketing of sugar during the emergency at equitable prices.

This should prove a splendid opportunity for the Cuban Government and the sugar industry to implement their assurances of cooperation. In this connection it is the Department’s often repeated [Page 238] view that large volume production at moderate prices is best for the Cuban economy on the long pull.

You should at the same time point out that the current trade-agreement negotiations,57 although separate, are in fact closely related to the purchase proposal; and emphasize again the importance of early conclusion of the negotiations, on general grounds, and in order to remove the uncertainty as to the duty on Cuban sugar after January 1. Removal of this uncertainty would facilitate the reaching of an agreement in regard to the purchase of the 1942 crop. Also the early conclusion of the trade agreement would establish a firmer foundation for future trade with the United States in sugar and other products.

  1. Not printed; this letter was primarily a protest against the fixing of sugar prices by the Office of Price Administration without consulting Cuba.
  2. See pp. 196 ff.