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

No. 1477

Sir: There is enclosed a copy of a note recently presented to Ambassador Belt in reply to the Ambassador’s note of June 24, 194728 expressing his government’s opposition to section 202(e) of the proposed Sugar Act of 1948. A copy of the latter note is also enclosed.

You should seek an early interview with President Grau and hand him a copy of the Department’s note. In discussing the matter with the President, you should explain that this Government is naturally anxious to maintain mutually advantageous relationships between the United States and friendly neighboring nations. It should also be explained that the bill makes a sincere endeavor to distribute fairly and equitably the United States market for an important food supply. You should point out that, naturally, this Government feels that United States interests abroad should be given assurances of fair and equitable treatment.

You should inform President Grau of the constant desire of this Government to find a mutually satisfactory basis for resolving the problems which confront United States nationals in Cuba. In this connection, you may wish to refer to some of your previous conversations with him and the Foreign Minister, and also to the numerous discussions held in Washington between Ambassador Belt and officers of the Department.

It would be well to mention to the President that on January 30, 1947 you presented a complete draft of a proposed commercial treaty29 to the Cuban Minister of State in accordance with the desire of this Government to make every possible effort to negotiate mutually satisfactory assurances of fair and equitable treatment for the nationals, commerce, and industry of each of the two countries in the territory [Page 620] of the other. Copies of this draft were also presented to Ambassador Belt on June 8, 1947.

You should call the President’s attention to the fact that no response has been received to a copy of a note which you presented to him on December 30, 194631 concerning this Government’s position with respect to the settlement of pecuniary claims of United States nationals against the Cuban Government. In reviewing this matter with the President, you should allude to Cuba’s exceptionally favorable financial position and express the hope that these long-pending obligations will be promptly discharged. It should again be made clear to the President that this Government cannot regard seriously the inclusion of any American claims in the “floating debt” as an acceptable excuse for nonpayment of such claims pending the establishment of a Tribunal of accounts, since no state can justify its failure to fulfill its international obligations on the ground that its municipal legislation is defective.

In your conversation with the President, you should emphasize that comparatively little action on the part of the Cuban Government would be required to resolve almost all of these problems. You should also emphasize that since the requests that have been made from time to time by this Government are all moderate and reasonable, it should not be difficult for the Cuban Government, if it wishes to do so, practically to eliminate any possibility that section 202(e) of the proposed Sugar Act could be applicable to Cuba.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Norman Armour