Memorandum by the Special Representative of the Cuban Government (Lόpez Castro) to the Department of State61

The American Dehydrating Company of Cuba has a contract with Commodity Credit Corp. to dehydrate 40,000,000 lbs. of sweet potatoes and beets in Cuba. The Government of Cuba heartily welcomed this contract and viewed it as the first and foremost practical step in meeting the desires of the U. S. and Cuba to help Cuba diversify its crops and improve the economic position of the small farmers. We so announced it to the public.

We were particularly pleased when the American Dehydrating Company of Cuba decided to spread its purchases over three provinces, namely, Havana, Matanzas and Camaguey, by erecting three smaller plants rather than one large plant.

Officials and citizens of these provinces enthusiastically agreed to cooperate and farmers in the first two immediately undertook to raise the necessary vegetables.

Federal officials agreed to help with tax concessions, road building, loan of machinery, etc. Our Minister of Agriculture undertook with great satisfaction to encourage the farmers to grow the required vegetables, to supervise the planting, to lay out an insecticide program, and in every way to induce the farmers to participate in this diversification program.

Cuba granted certificates of necessity and letters of endorsement for the steel and machinery out of its own allotment.

In short we in Cuba are doing everything possible to help the American Dehydrating Company of Cuba carry out its contract with the Commodity Credit Corporation. We were therefore shocked to learn:

That an impression has been created by someone in the American Embassy in Havana that sufficient beets cannot be grown in Cuba and [Page 232] that farmers in Cuba will not successfully grow the quantity of beets required for this dehydration contract.
That there is an impression that the Cuban Government is only lukewarm to this great project.
That therefore export licenses and priority certificates for necessary steel and equipment are being refused to the American Steel Corporation of Cuba which is constructing these plants.

We therefore state emphatically that:

The Government of Cuba is most anxious that this project be prosecuted with every energy and dispatch, and that I am authorized to state that our Government will help in every way; that we consider the program of the American Dehydrating Company of Cuba one of the most if not the most important project of our diversification and good neighbor program.
There is no question that beets can and will grow in Cuba; that the farmers are anxious to grow beets for this dehydration program and that farmers will undertake to grow sufficient beets to enable the American Dehydrating Company to carry out its contracts in full. We know of our own knowledge that farmers are now in the process of growing and have ground broken to grow the vegetables for this purpose.
It will be breaking faith with these thousands of farmers and laborers to withhold the export licenses for the steel and necessary equipment for the three plants required to carry out this dehydration program.

Respectfully yours,

  1. This memorandum, unsigned, was left at the Department on July 28 by Amadeo Lόpez Castro, accompanied by Aurelio F. Concheso, Cuban Ambassador in the United States.