837.154/172: Airgram

The Chargé in Cuba, ( Briggs ) to the Secretary of State

A–1401. Referring Department’s airgram No. A–1710 of July 7, 1943, 6:30 p.m., concerning asphalt, tires and gasoline for the Central Highway reconstruction.

Gasoline requirements are estimated by National Development Commission at 500,000 gallons total consumption over a 16 months’ period. ORPA agrees to supply carburante for this purpose and to furnish from Cuba’s regular quota any gasoline which may be needed in addition to the carburante.
Arrangements are being made for the Agenda de Importación y Exportación to issue the necessary Import Recommendation providing for the supplying of tires for the Central Highway job from Cuba’s regular allocation of tires. The Embassy understands that Import Recommendations will be issued for tires from the quarterly estimates of supply, as tires are needed, and the Embassy is suggesting to the National Development Commission that the maximum conservation of tires would probably be obtained if the Commission were to use a procedure somewhat similar to that established by the Metals Reserve Company Agency at Santiago de Cuba, in furnishing tires for mining companies.
Information concerning the requirements of fuel oil for use in the production of the asphalt needed for the Central Highway job, together with the Embassy’s recommendation in this connection were furnished in despatch No. 3719 of July 7, 1943.11

In further reference to this matter, it may be stated that only with the greatest difficulty and since the beginning of the present month has it been possible to bring Cuba’s nonessential fuel oil consumption down to the 40 percent figure.12 The Central Highway reconstruction requirements of asphalt total 6,500,000 gallons, for the production of which approximately 230,000 barrels of heavy fuel oil are required. If this quantity of 230,000 barrels is not supplied outside of Cuba’s regular nonessential quota, a drop in the general allotment for all other nonessential purposes would ensue from 40 to 30 percent. ORPA advises that such a reduction (25%) in quota is not possible to carry out and the Embassy considers it inadvisable to attempt to force such a reduction. In view of these circumstances and having in mind also the statement in the Department’s telegram No. 44 of January 9, 1943 to the effect that “The Department has informally indicated to the Cuban Commission that adequate asphalt supplies are likely to be made available”, the Embassy recommends that these 230,000 barrels be authorized as a national economy essential.13

As mentioned in the Embassy’s despatch No. 3719, the by-products that might be obtained will form part of the regular Cuban quota.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Forty percent of 1941 consumption, plus war essentials and such additional amounts as might be proved to be absolutely necessary to prevent serious economic dislocation and which can be supplied by available transportation facilities.
  3. The Secretary of State, in airgram A–1927 of August 7, 1943, informed the Embassy that the Essential Requirements Committee had approved supplying, as an additional allotment, the fuel oil needed for the Central Highway reconstruction.