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293. Memorandum of a Conversation Between the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (Mann) and Lawrence Crosby of the Cuban-American Sugar Council, Department of State, Washington, April 23, 19591

SUBJECT

  • Mr. Crosby’s Conversation with Fidel Castro in New York on the Evening of April 22

Mr. Larry Crosby, representative of the Cuban-American Sugar Council called today to tell Mr. Mann about the conversation which he and Mr. David Kaiser of the Cuban-American Sugar Company had with Fidel Castro last night. Mr. Crosby said that he reviewed for Dr. Castro the history of Cuban-American sugar relations over the past 25 years and explained to him the essential points of the Sugar Act of 1956.2 Castro evidenced some knowledge of the sugar question, apparently having been briefed on this subject recently. The provision of the 1956 Act which allocates any deficits by domestic suppliers in meeting their quota entirely to other segments of the domestic industry (described by Mr. Crosby as harmful and unfair to Cuba particularly in the light of past practice), was explained to Dr. Castro as something which Cuba might seek to have modified when the Act comes up for renewal. At the same time it was pointed out to him that [Page 484]there is almost no chance that Cuba can receive any increase in her quota in the United States market which must be obtained at the expense of the U.S. producers (including Hawaii and Puerto Rico). Mr. Crosby found Castro to be much more reasonable and realistic in private, in contrast to his public statements, with regard to the practical possibilities of any improvement in the Cuban share of the United States sugar market.

The Minister of Economy, Boti, took part in this conversation and Mr. Crosby got the impression that he is well-informed on the Cuban sugar situation and would be perfectly contented if the present Sugar Act could be extended unchanged. He was advised by Mr. Crosby that this is also his opinion except for a possible modification of the domestic deficit arrangement as mentioned above. Mr. Crosby said that he urged Dr. Castro to have Cuba ratify the International Sugar Agreement and was supported in this position by Minister Boti but received no answer from Dr. Castro on this point.

Mr. Mann explained to Mr. Crosby that he had discussed the question of the renewal of the Sugar Act with Mr. Kemp and a group from the domestic beet-sugar industry and had told them that he is strongly opposed to the introduction of new sugar legislation at this time and prefers to wait until the Cuban political situation has clarified before taking up this matter. Mr. Crosby said that he is fully in accord with Mr. Mann’s thinking on this point and that he will endeavor to make his views known to Congressman Sam Rayburn within the next few days.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 837.235/4–2359. Confidential. Drafted and initialed by Stevenson.
  2. The Sugar Act of 1956, approved on May 17, 1956. (70 Stat. 217)