The American Ambassador in Cuba ( Messersmith ) to the Cuban Minister of State ( Cortina )73

No. 906

Excellency: I have the honor to refer to the memorandum of December 2, 1941,74 which I handed to Your Excellency and to the Secretary of the Presidency, Mr. Amadeo López Castro, who was the head of the Commission of your Government recently in Washington for the purpose of discussing the purchase by my Government of the 1942 sugar crop of Cuba. In this memorandum the Office of Price Administration of my Government stated the proposed terms of purchase.

I am now informed by my Government that the Office of Price Administration has confirmed the proposed terms, which may now be considered as a definite offer of my Government. In order that no misunderstandings may arise, I am requested to secure from Your Excellency’s Government a memorandum of acceptance of the proposal set forth in the memorandum of December 2, 1941, above referred to.

My Government informs me that on December 7, by agreement between the Department of Agriculture and the Office of Price Administration, orders were issued freezing the price for refined sugar and providing that sugar refineries should deliver to customers only for their immediate needs, for the purpose of nullifying insofar as possible the effects of possible war hysteria on the market. This action, the Office of Price Administration advises, is intended to be only a temporary measure. For this and for other reasons, it may become desirable or necessary, despite the refined freezing order, to raise the domestic ceiling on raw sugar prior to the conclusion of the agreement for the purchase of the Cuban 1942 crop. As Your Excellency knows, the conclusion of the purchase agreement has also been somewhat delayed through the necessary steps involved in the negotiation of the Supplementary Trade Agreement between our two Governments. It therefore becomes necessary that the interested agencies of my Government be informed of the acceptance of the proposed terms for the purchasing arrangement before formal conclusion of the arrangement occurs, and in that case my Government will appreciate an indication from the Cuban Government of its perfect understanding that any such price ceiling adjustment of raw [Page 246] sugar which might be undertaken in anticipation of the purchase agreement would be designed to carry out in advance the terms of that agreement and would not be for any other purpose.

Please accept [etc.]

George S. Messersmith
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Ambassador in Cuba in his despatch No. 3113, December 16; received December 17.
  2. Not printed, but see telegram No. 374, December 1, 3 p.m., to the Ambassador in Cuba, p. 242.