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

No. 4276

Sir: I have the honor to refer to previous correspondence regarding the American Dehydrating Company project in Cuba, and especially [Page 235] to the memorandum63 Attachéd to the Department’s instruction No. 2091 of August 12, 194364 (no file number), setting forth the Cuban Government’s interest in this project, and to a memorandum dated August 5, 1943,64 on a telephone conversation between Mr. M. P. Anderson of the War Production Board and an officer of the Department,65 from which the impression is obtained that the Commodity Credit Corporation is lukewarm towards the project as possible users of dehydrated vegetables are scarce and as the present production capacity of dehydrated vegetables is sufficient for all possible needs. According to this memorandum, the Commodity Credit Corporation is reportedly willing to release the American Dehydrating Company from its obligations under the contract.

Mr. Frank Cohen of the American Dehydrating Company informed the Embassy on August 20, 1943, that a project license had been issued to cover all the materials and equipment required for the first of the three dehydrating plants his company desires to erect and that he is extremely anxious to erect the second plant in order to be able to comply with the contract between his company and the Commodity Credit Corporation. Mr. Cohen requested the Embassy to make a definite recommendation in this regard.

Inasmuch as the Embassy’s views on this project, as expressed in its air mail despatch No. 3915 of July 24, 1943,66 remain unchanged, Mr. Cohen was informed that any recommendations should properly come from the Commodity Credit Corporation, with which the project originated and to which the American Dehydrating Company is called upon to deliver under its contract.

The question now arises, however, as to what action should be pursued by the Embassy in connection with import recommendations covering iron and steel and other strategic materials for the plants in question. According to the original estimates submitted by the company to the Embassy, approximately 1,300,000 pounds of steel were required for each plant. To date certificates of necessity for about 462,000 pounds of steel and import recommendations for roughly 241,000 pounds of steel have been approved against the third and fourth quarter estimates of supply, respectively, leaving some 600,000 pounds more to be granted for the completion of the first plant. In view of the Cuban Government’s interest in the project, it may be assumed that the Import and Export Agency will issue against future estimates of supply additional import recommendations to cover the steel and other materials required to complete the first plant, as well [Page 236] as the second and, possibly, a third plant. The Embassy is therefore urgently in need of a definite statement as to the interested agencies’ views in the matter and whether they propose to approve export license applications for the materials, supplies and equipment required for the erection of a second or even a third plant.

Pending receipt of the Department’s instructions, the Embassy will approve import recommendations up to the amounts required for the construction of the first plant (now nearing completion at Colon), and any additional import recommendations for this project will be submitted to the Department for such action as it may be decided to take with regard thereto.

Respectfully yours,

For the Ambassador:
George C. Howard

First Secretary of Embassy
  1. Memorandum of July 27 by Amadeo Lόpez Castro, p. 231.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.
  4. George F. Scherer.
  5. Not printed; in this despatch the Ambassador expressed the desire that the project proceed with caution until more adequate information became available (837.658/34).