The Chief of the Division of the American Republics ( Bonsal ) to the Ambassador in Cuba ( Braden )

Dear Mr. Ambassador: Since Newby Walmsley’s return from Cuba after Ellis13 delivered his note to the Cuban Government based on our telegram 237 of May 7, we have been endeavoring to obtain more definite estimates for next year from the appropriate agencies.

I want to give you the trend of thought in some quarters here, and to ask for your comments.

You have reported that on August 5 about 2,120,000 long tons of sugar remained to be shipped. The maximum shipping schedule of sugar for June–December, 1942, as the Embassy was informed, is 1,075,000 short tons or say 950,000 long (680,000 long tons for August–December), and this may be pared down by as much as 14 percent. Therefore, a carryover may be expected of 1,440,000 long tons or more in Cuba on December 31.

As for the molasses, the probable reduction of the shipping schedule for the rest of the year to 7½ million gallons per month (all from Cuba) will leave a balance there at the end of the year, according to your figures, of close to 175,000,000 gallons.

The statistical estimates which have been made of sugar needs from Cuba next year for the United States and for lend lease shipment, in which these carryovers have of course been considered, indicate that Cuba should not make more than 2,260,000 short tons, for all purposes, including domestic consumption.

Obviously the shipping situation dominates these calculations.

It is my impression that no matter how vigorously Cuba should press its diversification program, the time before the new grinding season is insufficient to develop sufficient alternate work programs for the mass of Cuban sugar workers.

In order to form an opinion what amount of sugar should be made next year above statistical requirements for both current consumption and reserves, your comment is urgently required with regard to the amount of alternate work which will be available under the diversification program. I confess that this resembles a quick-sand foundation on which we ask you to build, but I should like nevertheless to have your thoughts as soon as possible.

As you are aware, Cuban income from sugar this year will be well over $200,000,000. This large income, in the face of a decided shortage of imported supplies and a marked increase in their cost, may [Page 330] set the stage for inflation; unless some means of diverting some of this income into other than consumption purchase channels is found. This aspect should receive careful attention.

I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Very sincerely yours,

Philip W. Bonsal
  1. Ellis O. Briggs, Counselor of Embassy.