710 Consultation 4/9–847

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chairman of the United States Delegation (Marshall)

Participants: Ambassador Guillermo Belt (Cuba)
Secretary Marshall
Major Vernon A. Walters

At Hotel Quitandinha, August 26, at 11: 00 a.m.

After the customary exchange of greetings, I inquired of Ambassador Belt how he felt that the work of the Conference was progressing. He replied that it was progressing very well, and that we had given a democratic example to Europe. He felt that there would be no further [Page 70] serious obstacles, and that the last important difference, namely, that concerning unanimity as desired by the Argentines, had been solved in committee the previous night when the Argentines had withdrawn their insistence on unanimity. I expressed the belief that they had abandoned their insistence on unanimity earlier in the Conference, but Ambassador Belt stated that the final smoothing off had occurred the previous night. I then inquired concerning his opinion of the Mexican proposal of a regional security zone. He stated that he believed the Mexicans wanted regional security zones extending out three hundred miles and that he thought this proposal was in large part for home consumption; that they wanted to give their people some assurance that if the United States were to become entangled in Europe or Asia that they would not necessarily also become entangled, but, added Ambassador Belt, “of course, war for the United States would be war for us also.”

I then inquired of what was being done in Cuba to get away from the single crop economy. Ambassador Belt stated that it would be impossible to get away from the single crop economy as sugar was so profitable. I inquired concerning other crops. He then spoke at length about tobacco and the manufacture of cigars in Cuba. He also touched on the Cuban colonies in Key West and Tampa. He added that the standard of living in Cuba has risen greatly, and that where a cutter earned 80 cents a day some years ago, today he earns five dollars a day. He stated that a large number of Cubans were home owners and that this was a valuable bulwark against communism. He asked if I had visited Cuba. I replied that although I had flown over Cuba many times, I had not stopped there. He extended an invitation for me to stop there with Mrs. Marshall on the way back, which I declined stating that time would not permit me to do so.