Memorandum by the Director of the Office of American Republic Affairs ( Briggs ) to the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs ( Clayton )

In regard to sugar legislation, in addition to the overriding question of good faith (our note of January, 1946, sent to the Cubans at Secretary Anderson’s request22), and the tremendously important economic factors involved, our relations with Cuba are of prime political importance.

Unless we fulfill our commitment to recommend an improved position for Cuba, the Cubans, who have a low boiling point in addition to much articulateness, are likely to denounce us to the hemisphere, to the detriment of our general Latin American relations.
Unless Cuba gets an equitable share of our market the present “flash flood prosperity” can rapidly be converted into economic distress which can in turn plunge the island into political chaos.
Whenever Cuba ignites, the United States invariably has to step in and put out the fire. This in the past has been an expensive business and could easily be more costly in the future.
A proposal unfair to Cuba (or even one generally regarded by Cubans as unfair) would be a bonanza for the Communists, not only in Cuba where they are already very strong but elsewhere in the hemisphere. The prospect of a Communist Cuba 90 miles from our doorstep is one which I want no part in promoting.
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All of which seems to me to make it advisable that Secretary Anderson be informed in the most vigorous terms that this Department cannot approve, much less endorse, any sugar legislation which does not stand four square (1) with our commitments, and (2) with our national interests.

Ellis O. Briggs
  1. For note of January 4, 1946, to the Cuban Ambassador, see Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. xi, p. 772. Clinton P. Anderson was Secretary of Agriculture.