282. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Holland) to the Acting Secretary of State 1


  • Cuban Note Protesting Proposed Sugar Legislation


There is attached (Tab A)2 a translation of a note received from the Cuban Embassy reiterating the opposition of the Cuban Government to sugar legislation pending in the United States Congress. The arguments, most of which have been made by the Cubans many times before, are directed principally against the Cooley Bill although the Administration proposals—particularly the division of the quota between Cuba and the full duty countries—are also criticized. The Cubans asked that the note be brought to your attention. In addition to this note, the Cuban Foreign Minister just recently wrote a personal letter to the Secretary arguing Cuba’s position.3

The main points of the note are:

The Cooley Bill would result in Cuba’s becoming the last residual supplier of the U.S. market.
An increase of the quotas of the full duty countries at Cuba’s expense will encourage those countries to expand their sugar industries at a time when there is already a serious world sugar surplus situation.
Cuba’s U.S. sugar quota is a counterpart of the preferential treatment enjoyed by the U.S. in the Cuban market and an integral part of the concessions and compensations in the trade relations between the two countries. The proposed changes in sugar legislation represent a fundamental departure from what has been, for more than 50 years, the basis of economic relations between Cuba and the United States.
The Department is requested to reconsider and revise the proposed legislation to avoid the approval of the provisions which Cuba considers detrimental to its interests.

In compliance with your instructions, the Cubans have been informed by my office on several occasions recently that the Administration intends to continue to support the proposals it made during [Page 830] the last session of Congress and that the Administration also intends to oppose any modifications to its proposals (such as the Cooley Bill). It has been pointed out to the Cubans that the Administration proposals are more favorable to Cuba than any of the other proposals which have been advanced and that Cuba will continue to be by far the most favored foreign supplier. This same information was included in the Secretary’s reply (Tab B) to the letter from the Cuban Foreign Minister.4


That ARA be authorized to draft a reply to the Cuban note (1) reiterating the intention of the Administration to continue to support the proposals it made during the last session of Congress; (2) pointing out that Cuba still remains by far the most favored foreign supplier, and (3) explaining that the legislation was drafted only after long consideration and after taking fully into account the various foreign and domestic interests, including Cuba.5

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 811.235/11–2855. Official Use Only. Drafted by Hoyt.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 811.235/12–655)
  4. Not printed. (Ibid., 737.13/12–855)
  5. Hoover approved this recommendation and in a memorandum of December 17 to Holland, attached to the source text, wrote: “I suggest that we point out to the Cubans, also, that the Administration position restores the growth percentage to its historical position, and that it does not represent a reduction from the long-time accepted figure. We had great difficulty in retaining even this advantage for Cuba.”