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

No. 966

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my despatch No. 891 of September 2, 1942 concerning a number of over optimistic statements issued recently in Habana relative to 1943 sugar prospects, and to report that at a luncheon given by the Federación Nacional de la Industria Minera yesterday I made the following statement:

“We have been able to assist materially by purchasing the major portion of the 1942 crop, which totalled almost 4,000,000 long tons. Unfortunately, as I have said so many times, it is not so much the submarines as the necessity of using vessels elsewhere that creates the difficulties in maritime transportation. The fact is that during the first eight months of 1942 we have transported only approximately 30% of the raw sugar and only slightly more than 40% of the molasses purchased under the Crop Sale Contract. This fact is of paramount importance in considering the amount of sugar which my Government may be in a position to buy next year. The various statements which I have read recently in the press lead me to wonder whether their authors may be indulging in wishful thinking, instead of basing their expectations on realities, however uncomfortable the latter may be. [Page 332] Certainly you may rest assured that your Government and my Government are doing and will continue to do everything humanly possible in this matter, but simultaneously you must bear in mind all of the numerous and difficult obstacles which we will have to overcome, such as the enormous and pressing call upon our shipping facilities to transport the soldiers and equipment of the United States and the other United Nations to the far-flung fighting fronts all over the globe. It is my personal belief that the transportation problem will not be solved in this part of the world for many many months to come and that it will deteriorate before it gets better. It is for these reasons that we have been unable so far to move to the United States and to our sugar-hungry allies the stocks which have accumulated in Cuba and for which we have already paid. It would seem prudent to take all these facts which I have mentioned today into consideration when making estimates for 1943.”

My hearers included in addition to Sr. Amadéo López Castro and the Secretary of Agriculture,18 Dr. Ramiro Guerra and Dr. Delio Nuñez Mesa.19 The last two mentioned have been responsible for two of the most unjustifiable statements which have appeared recently, each maintaining that our purchases next year will be in the neighborhood of 4,000,000 long tons of sugar.

I shall further report on this matter as soon as the local industry has had an opportunity to consider my remarks on the subject.

Respectfully yours,

Spruille Braden
  1. José M. Santos Burgo.
  2. Member of the Cuban House of Representatives.