810.20 Defense/7–545

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Cuba ( Norweb )12

No. 5427

Sir: Reference is made to the Embassy’s secret despatch no. 9002 [9602] of July 5, 1945, concerning the conclusions embodied in General Brett’s report on the bilateral military staff conversations recently held between military representatives of the United States and Cuba. The Department is studying this report, together with those on other staff conversations.

In Section II of the enclosure to the despatch under reference it is indicated that, according to General Brett’s report, the staff conversations have resulted in an agreement that the Cuban Army eventually be supplied with material to equip a specified list of air and ground force units. The Department is concerned over this indication that a specific agreement was reached with the Cuban Government during the staff conversations, since as you will readily recall from previous [Page 903] instructions concerning the bilateral staff conversations it was repeatedly stated and agreed by this Government that the conversations should be purely exploratory and that no effort should be made to reach any agreement or make any commitments during the conversations.

It is recognized that the initiation of the staff conversations by this Government involves a certain general commitment on the part of the United States to do something toward the achievement of the objectives discussed. Following the study of the results of all staff conversations, this Government will determine what steps toward the achievement of the objectives of the staff conversations are desirable, and information will be given to the government of each republic concerning what the United States is prepared to do toward these ends. It is important, therefore, that the impression not be allowed to become established that the United States is committed to the delivery of any specific amount of equipment or the undertaking of any other cooperative projects on the basis of the staff conversations alone.

The Department also wishes to comment upon two statements made in the enclosure no. 1 to the despatch under reference. On page one the statement is made that “the budget for the Cuban armed forces for the year 1945–46 is adequate to maintain the armed forces desired”. On page three of the same memorandum the following statement appears: “Finally, it was recommended that prior to the release of Air Force or Ground Force equipment by the United States, the Cuban Government be required to furnish positive assurances and make definite commitments that it will meet the financial obligations incident to the proposed reorganization of the Cuban Ground and Air Forces.”

The Department requests your comments on the possible inconsistency of these two statements. You will readily recognize the extreme importance of budgetary considerations in connection with plans by this Government to implement the staff conversations. You are therefore requested to transmit to the Department any comments and information concerning the effect on the budget of the Cuban Government of a full implementation of the plans for improving the armed forces discussed at the staff conversations. In this connection the Department will be glad to have any information you can provide concerning the present size and composition of the Cuban armed forces in comparison with those recommended as a result of the staff conversations as reported in your despatch.

Very truly yours,

For the Acting Secretary of State:
Nelson Rockefeller
  1. R. Henry Norweb presented his credentials July 24, 1945.