711.372/8–146: Telegram

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


534. Copy article 1 draft treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation which it is planned to propose to Cuban Government and negotiate in Habana was presented to Belt today.54 In discussing matter Braden referred to his conversation with Grau of December 1944 and latter’s suggestion labor clause be taken up with Belt. While Belt remarked that article in general appeared satisfactory, he expressed view that provisions of constitution and existing labor laws might conflict with paragraph 3 of draft which reads as follows:

“No limitation shall be imposed on the basis of nationality by either High Contracting Party upon the employment within its jurisdiction of nationals of the other High Contracting Party, greater than that in effect on the date of signature of this Treaty. Moreover, the nationals, corporations and associations of either High Contracting Party doing business, owning property, or rendering service within the territories of the other High Contracting Party, shall be permitted to employ a reasonable number of employees of their own nationality necessary for efficient management, administration, technical and export servicing.”

Belt said he would study draft and present his views to Department next week.55 Copy Article 1 being forwarded Embassy by airmail.

  1. In a memorandum of July 1, 1946, Mr. Joseph T. Keating of the Division of Commercial Policy explained this rather unusual procedure as follows:

    “For some time discussions have taken place between officials of our Embassy in Cuba and this Department on the effect a proposed treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation would have on the labor laws of Cuba. These laws have grown extremely nationalistic in Cuba based in part, upon the Cuban constitutional provisions. The Cuban laws have almost reached the point of making it impossible for our business men and professional people to operate in Cuba. This is one of the most important problems which the proposed treaty will attempt to solve—by providing treaty guarantees for us that the situation will not worsen. Provisions in Article I of the proposed treaty will limit the discriminatory labor laws in Cuba as they would apply to our nationals. That is the reason why it has been suggested that we consult with Ambassador Belt on the proposed provisions of Article I before sending the entire treaty draft to be officially presented to the Cuban Government for negotiation.” (711.372/7–146)

  2. Ambassador Belt had not presented his views to the Department by the end of 1946. Ambassador Norweb was informed in instruction 1216, January 3, 1947, that in view of the increasing representations made by American citizens having substantial investments in Cuba, the Department had decided to urge upon the Cuban Government the negotiation of a broad, long-range treaty. A draft treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation with Cuba was enclosed for presentation officially to the Cuban Government as a basis of negotiation. (711.372/8–1946)