311. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Cuba 1

970. Considering fact that land reform law has not been officially promulgated and understanding that Cuban groups whose interests unfavorably affected by it are protesting to GOC, Department does not plan issue public statement at this time. However, as agreed during your consultation you should call on Prime Minister as soon as possible unless you perceive objection to express along following lines concern aroused in United States with respect proposed law.

United States Government is not opposed to sound land reform. On contrary it has been our policy support and give technical and other appropriate assistance constructive programs land reform.

At same time, in practical sense, we recognize that a contribution by land reform to attainment higher living standard for Cuban people can be achieved only by measures which will contribute to economic growth of nation. A system of land reform should be designed and carried out so as not to impair or reduce but rather increase present levels of productivity. This requires that implications and consequences each step taken in connection with land reform program should be carefully studied.

U.S. and Cuba have mutual interest in assuring stable and adequate supply sugar and it would be advantageous to both if consideration were given to effect proposed reform on character and likely yields all agricultural crops. Consultation between U.S. and Cuba in past has been productive in finding solutions sugar problems and might be helpful also in present situation. An early determination on this matter is important because U.S. Gov’t, on behalf its citizens, must [Page 516] give careful study possible necessity for action looking to an uninterrupted supply of sugar. Such action would of course have to be taken many months before possible short-fall in sugar supply might occur.

United States also wishes bring to attention GOC fact that American private business having investments and interests in Cuba is greatly concerned and disturbed by proposed law in its present form. In addition seemingly unanimous opinion that overall effects law will be detrimental Cuban economy and tend discourage desirable private investment both domestic and foreign, there is opinion compensation provisions present measure are inadequate both as to question valuation and as to method payment. United States recognizes sovereign right every state, in absence applicable treaty provisions providing otherwise, to take property within its jurisdiction for public purposes, provided that such a taking is accompanied by payment prompt, adequate and effective compensation for property taken, [sic]

It is hoped GOC will consider these informal observations of United States in same friendly spirit with which they are made, and we are confident that it will give careful consideration to various factors involved and prospective results to be expected from a land reform measure of magnitude that contemplated by proposed law.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 837.16/6–159. Drafted by Stevenson; cleared with Mann, Turkel, Whiteman, and Ruth Gold (OFD); and approved by Rubottom who signed for Murphy.