The Secretary of State to the Cuban Ambassador (Belt)

Excellency: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s note of December 30, 194637 concerning the possible satisfaction of various claims of United States nationals against the Government of Cuba, and to Your Excellency’s acknowledgment of January 20, 1947.38

As the nature of the recognized claims appeared to be well understood by both Governments, it was hoped that Your Excellency’s Government would find it possible to effect an early settlement. It was also hoped that Your Excellency’s Government would furnish this Government with its views on the draft claims convention which was suggested in the Department’s note of December 30, 1946.

Numerous inquiries have been received in regard to the status of these claims, both from members of Congress and from claimants whose efforts to arrange a satisfactory settlement with the Cuban Government have been unavailing. I am sure that Your Excellency will appreciate that this problem, which has been the subject of numerous conversations between representatives of our Governments, will doubtless evoke additional inquiries. It would be greatly appreciated, therefore, if Your Excellency’s Government would be so kind as to give my Government the benefit of its views concerning the proposals in the Department’s note of December 30, 1946, and in particular the [Page 626] proposal for an arbitral Mixed Claims Commission to determine the extent of the validity of claims that have not as yet been adjudicated.39

Accept [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Norman Armour
  1. Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. xi, p. 770.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Acknowledging receipt of the Secretary’s note of November 12, Ambassador Belt informed Secretary Marshall in a note of November 21 that while the Executive branch of the Cuban Government was “most anxious” to make some arrangement for the settlement of the claims, the matter was, under the Constitution, not for the Executive branch but for the Legislative branch and also the Tribunal of Accounts (437.11/11–2147).

    In a memorandum of December 9, 1947, to the Assistant Chief of the Division of Caribbean Affairs (Walker) the Assistant Legal Adviser for International Claims (English) stated: “It is not believed that the provisions of the Constitution support that position”, taken by Ambassador Belt, adding: “Even it be assumed that the allegations made in the note are true, that is, that under Cuban law the responsibility for making settlement is in the Legislative branch and a non-existent agency of the Cuban Government, that situation cannot operate to relieve the Cuban Government of its international obligation under international law … the principle of international law that the failure of a state to give effect to the decisions of its own courts in favor of aliens, particularly judgments against the state, constitutes a denial of justice, is so well settled as to require no citation of authority. It is also well settled that a state cannot be permitted to evade its responsibilities in that regard under international law by setting up its own municipal law.” (437.11/12–947)