Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division, of Caribbean Affairs (Walker)

Participants: Señor Guillermo Belt, Ambassador of Cuba
A–Br—Mr. Braden
ARA—Mr. Briggs
CRB—Mr. Walker

Ambassador Belt stated that during his recent visit to Cuba he had discussed with President Grau and with several members of the American Chamber of Commerce of Cuba the question of a larger and more equitable share of the U.S. market for Cuban sugar. The Chamber of Commerce members, he added, were concerned over some of the difficulties confronting American businessmen in Cuba and felt that a treaty of commerce was absolutely essential.

The Ambassador said that he had spoken with President Grau regarding the desirability of satisfactorily resolving the problems (including a larger sugar quota for Cuba) between the United States and Cuba. The President, he stated, agreed that it would be advisable to settle these problems and instructed him to open discussions with this. Government in an effort to reach a basis for satisfactory settlement. [Page 614] The Ambassador then presented a note to Mr. Braden21 setting forth his Government’s suggestion that this was the opportune moment to settle outstanding problems between the two countries and that discussions be undertaken as early as possible.

Mr. Braden stated that the matter raised in the Ambassador’s note would be studied by the Department and other interested government agencies. He added that upon the completion of these studies the Department would of course communicate with the Ambassador.

Mr. Braden handed Ambassador Belt the Department’s preliminary reply to the Ambassador’s note of May 20,21 expressing the Cuban Government’s preoccupation over efforts being made in Congress to have the Sugar Act of 1937 extended for a period of one year.

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