The Ambassador in Cuba (Braden) to the Secretary of State
[Received November 18.]
Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Embassy’s despatch No. 5034 of November 5, 1943,71 which stated my intention to discuss with Cuban officials the ineffective use in 1943 of farm machinery furnished to the Ministry of Agriculture to assist the program for agricultural diversification.
I had the opportunity to take up this matter briefly during my meeting of November 8 with the Prime Minister, at which Ingeniero Amadeo Lόpez Castro was present. I pointed out that the failure of the Cuban Government to provide for effective utilization of the machinery had unfortunate effects for the United States agencies which were instrumental in obtaining the equipment, and also on the attitude of the American Congress, the implication being that these development [Page 239] have damaged the prospects for obtaining additional equipment for Cuba.
Ingeniero Lόpez Castro replied that the equipment arrived too late in 1943 for use in spring planting. This of course is true, but does not justify the failure to distribute the tractors and plows for use in planting fall crops, including beans and peanuts which are highly important with respect to agricultural diversification; nor does it explain the failure to make more effective use of peanut and rice harvesting machinery. Assembly of rice harvesting equipment was not even begun until the fall harvest season was under way, only a portion of this machinery was actually distributed, and the balance now is of no use until the fall of 1944. As there was no plan whatsoever for distribution of equipment upon its arrival in June 1943, it does not appear likely that the machinery would have been distributed in time for spring crops of 1943 even though it had arrived prior to their planting dates.
The shortage of gas oil also was presented by Ingeniero Lόpez Castro as a hindrance to effective use of the farm machinery. This can not be considered a valid excuse for failure to distribute the equipment, as demand for tractors and rice harvesting equipment would at the proper time in 1943 have absorbed the machines regardless of the prospective fuel problem with respect to their operation. The matter of gas oil was discussed in detail at the same meeting and Ingeniero Lόpez Castro, when informed that the Cuban quota could not be increased, expressed his intention of taking up the matter in Washington. This intention was reported to the Department in the Embassy’s telegram No. 722 of November 8, 1943.74
As sale and distribution of the farm machinery now is proceeding as rapidly as is reasonable considering that there is no immediate occasion for its use at this season, no further action is contemplated by the Embassy except with respect to Cuban allocations for 1944, as described in the closing paragraph of the Embassy despatch mentioned above.
Counselor of Embassy for Economic Affairs