The Ambassador in Cuba (Braden) to the Secretary of State
[Received 9:30 p.m.]
89. Yesterday evening after my return571 called on the President and told him I had found in Washington that the 3-cent sugar price was absolutely the highest we could pay. I added that if Cuba forthwith accepted this price and the Cuban Mission returned promptly to Washington for final negotiations, I felt they would be able to obtain the equivalent of free crops (including sale of blackstrap) for both 1945 and 1946 and even a mutually satisfactory agreement reached on volume of alcohol sale. I emphasized that speedy action by the Cubans was essential if they wished to seize this propitious moment. The President entirely agreed and forthwith summoned Dr. Seiglie to instruct him accordingly on the basis that “3 cents is the price”. Dr. Seiglie later informed me that he would immediately meet with his fellow members on Cuban Mission and while he anticipated no difficulties with the hacendados58 he was not so sanguine about the colonos’59 willingness to go ahead until their acrimonious blackstrap dispute with the mill owners had been accommodated. Nevertheless, the President appeared more optimistic on this point and spoke of forcing the issue.
I also emphasized to both the President and Seiglie that sales to other countries should be strictly limited to 150,000 tons and local [Page 922] consumption to 250,000 tons. Both said they were entirely in accord.
I shall keep the Department currently informed of developments.