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

No. 851

Sir: Reference is made to your despatch No. 1183 of October 3, 194225 in which you raise a number of questions with regard to the 1943 Cuban sugar crop.


In the second paragraph of your despatch you raise the question whether it is necessary to negotiate a purchase. Instruction No. 698, September 25, 1942 authorized you to inform the Cuban Government that the maximum amount of sugar Cuba would be warranted in producing next year for export purposes would be 2,600,000 short tons. It did not say that “our probable maximum sugar purchase in 1943” would be 2,600,000 short tons (first paragraph of your despatch 1183), nor was mention made in the Department’s telegram No. 237 of May 7, 1942 of a 1943 “purchase”. While the purchase of next year’s crop has been discussed with other interested agencies of the Government as a possible procedure, no decision has been made, as you will observe from the second paragraph of our instruction 698 and the fourth paragraph of the memorandum enclosed with the instruction, which you were authorized to deliver to the Cuban Government.


The Department and other agencies of the Government concerned have long been in full agreement with regard to blackstrap in 1943. There is no intention to make any commitment at this time with regard to 1943 molasses.

Consumption Estimates

The Department is pleased to furnish you for your own confidential information only the following tentative estimates and schedules: The estimate of United States consumption of sugar in 1943 reached by the responsible agencies of the Government, including rationing authorities, is 5,411,000 short tons. To supply this amount and to build up if possible the present stockpiles, the Government counts [Page 336] upon a continental crop of 2,100,000 to 2,400,000 short tons and shipping schedules from off-shore areas estimated very roughly and tentatively at this time as follows:

Cuba 2,000,000 to 2,240,000 short tons
Puerto Rico 392,000 to 448,000 short tons
Hawaii 785,000 to 896,000 short tons
Other 34,000 to 56,000 short tons
3,211,000 3,640,000 short tons

It is highly possible, however, that war developments may dictate a very radical revision of these tentative shipping schedules.

Additional Production over Requirements

Officials in Washington are giving special attention to the economic problems which the Cuban Government alleges would arise from a crop restricted to estimated requirements alone. One of the possible solutions which has been examined is a financing arrangement wherein the risk for the production of additional sugar would be borne by the producers. In this connection, reference is made to the last paragraph of the Department’s instruction 698 in which you were authorized to state orally to the Cuban Government that this Government is ready to examine with the appropriate Cuban authorities measures of economic cooperation.


The Department is in complete agreement with you with regard to the burden of the cost of storage of unshipped 1943 sugars. In this connection it may be of interest to you to know that Dr. Oscar Albertini,27 in speaking with officers of the Department on the alleged necessity for Cuba to produce a crop well in excess of that which is warranted by requirements, has stated very emphatically that the United States should have no misgivings about storage. The producers, he asserted, will find storage if that is the price for a larger crop.


The Department has reached the conclusion after giving the matter considerable thought that the negotiations should be handled in Washington. It is important that you give the Department at least two weeks’ notice of the coming of the Cuban negotiators and of the make-up of the group.

Please also keep the Department currently informed of any problems such as the number of bags per sling and such items for which [Page 337] you believe the negotiations should furnish an opportune occasion to reach a solution.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Sumner Welles
  1. Not printed.
  2. Representative of the Cuban Sugar Institute.