837.61351/3104: Telegram

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

436. For Duggan.8 I bespeak your urgent assistance in a matter in which further delay will bring into question our good faith:

A month ago following protracted consideration, Defense Supplies Corporation agreed to the delivery by the Institute after next January of not exceeding 10 million gallons of blackstrap. This arrangement costs us nothing for the reason that it is conceded that although we have bought the blackstrap along with the sugar crop, we will be unable to move the entire amount purchased before the end of this year. On the other hand, it represents a valuable concession to Cuba in that it would permit the new price-fixing organization (which is having a difficult time getting started) to use the blackstrap now for conversion to cooking alcohol, the principal fuel of the lower classes at a reasonable price, the amount of blackstrap taken to be returned early in 1943 from next year’s production at a time when it is hoped we can transport it. I repeat that this arrangement will cost us nothing but would be of important present assistance to Cuba.

On May 25, the Cuban Government and Institute were informed pursuant to authorization from Defense Supplies Corporation that we agreed to the arrangement whereupon the local price-fixing agency made commitments which it cannot now fulfill because the Corporation declines to release the molasses, alleging that the matter requires further considerations, et cetera. The price-fixing agency now finds itself in a very difficult and increasingly embarrassing position and notwithstanding considerable patience on its part, the point has now been reached where further delay will only result in misunderstanding and ill will.

Walmsley who has been most helpful is fully informed of details.

  1. Laurence Duggan, Adviser on Political Relations.