308. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Cuba1

940. For Amb. Bonsal. Agrarian reform law causing great consternation in U.S. Government and American sugar circles. Castro’s reported statement on TV last night that law will not be changed one iota and that distribution 50,000 caballerias American-owned land will not affect relations with U.S. have added to dismay.

Crosby of Cuban-American Sugar Council called on Assistant Secretary Mann today2 declaring law confiscatory and as stands will be disastrous to sugar industry of Cuba. Mann has arranged meeting with Under Secretary Murphy at 4:30 p.m. on Monday afternoon May 25 for Crosby and other representatives American-owned sugar interests to discuss this problem and the question of sugar legislation.

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Understand from Crosby that you have had extensive conversations with various representatives American-owned centrals.

Would be possible for you to come to Washington immediately so as to be present for meeting on Monday? Your observations would be great value and significance your departure would not be lost on Cubans, indicating we do have interest in the potential destruction facing large American investments. There also many other items affecting our present relations with Cuba on which consultation with you at this time would be greatly appreciated. Please cable or phone your views and recommendations.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 837.16/5–2259. Confidential; Niact. Drafted by Stevenson; cleared with Mann, Jack Herfurt (ARA/EX), Rubottom, and Harry Conover (ARA/REA); and approved by Wieland who signed for Dillon.
  2. No record of this conversation has been found.
  3. No response by Bonsal has been found, but in telegram 1427 from Havana, May 24, the Embassy reported that he had left that afternoon for Washington. (Department of State, Central Files, PER)