837.61351/3–1245: Telegram

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

154. Reurtel 172 of March 12.71 Negotiations with Cuban Sugar Commission indicate that it will be necessary to purchase one crop (the Cubans have refused to sell two) at 3.10. This position which is being presented today to the Cubans has been reached with great reluctance by this Government in view of the history of the negotiations to date.

The War Food Administrator is especially disturbed at the failure of the 3 cent Gentlemen’s Agreement of last October72 to bring about a prompt settlement which would have received recognition as further evidence of Cuba’s cooperative attitude in the war. It is understood that your efforts to obtain 3.05 out of fairness to the Cubans were supported by the situation as it has developed in Puerto Rico. The increase in price from 3.05 to 3.10 has been made necessary by the adamant position of the Cuban Commission, which did not appear to correspond with views you have received recently.

We regard the increase from 3.05 to 3.10 as having definitely severed the relationship between Cuban and Puerto Rican prices and as having brought into serious question the desirability of agreeing to a stabilization program for 1946 even though the sugar crop of that year might be purchased. In view of the critical need of sugar for [Page 927] the war effort and of the increasingly unsatisfactory supply situation, the position of the Cuban Commission has left us no alternative but to accede to their demands.

Stettinius
  1. Not printed.
  2. An agreement between Braden and Grau San Martin, not printed. For substance of agreement, see despatch 9136, April 9, from Habana, p. 928.