The Chargé in Cuba (Briggs) to the Secretary of State

No. 3638

Sir: With reference to previous correspondence concerning the 1942 Cuban sugar crop, and in particular to my telegram no. 102 of March 4, 12 noon, I have the honor to enclose for the confidential information of the Department a copy of the memorandum of the conversation82 on March 10 with Mr. Peter Schellens, Vice President of the National City Bank of New York, and Mr. Carter, Manager of the Habana Branch of that bank. Mr. Schellens has apparently come to Habana following receipt of an intimation by the head office in New York that the Cuban Government is dissatisfied with the high rates allegedly charged by the banks for advances to assist in financing the grinding of the crop.

It will be noted that my callers denied that rates higher than six percent are being asked by the National City Bank, but admitted that amounts charged certain Cuban mills may be twice as large as the interest which American companies are having to pay (i.e. 3%). This factor alone would seem to be sufficient to explain the attitude shown last week by Señor Amadeo López Castro, reported in my telegram mentioned above.

The Department will also note that the National City Bank is apparently considering the possibility of offering credit accommodation for crop financing to the Cuban Sugar Stabilization Institute,83 for use by the latter with individual mills. Should anything come of this possibility, I shall report further.

Respectfully yours,

Ellis O. Briggs
  1. Not printed.
  2. A government agency established to supervise the production and export of sugar.