314. Editorial Note

At the 90th meeting of the Council on Foreign Economic Policy on June 5, the Council reached a consensus that “the Administration should not go forward at this time with a request to the Congress to renew the Sugar Act, but that the matter would be subject to reconsideration by the CFEP within the next 30–60 days if conditions warranted.” The meeting, which was presided over by the Council’s Chairman, Clarence B. Randall, Special Assistant to the President, was held in the Executive Office Building and was attended by, among others, Under Secretary of State C. Douglas Dillon and Under Secretary of Agriculture True D. Morse. (Minutes of the 90th Meeting; Eisenhower Library, CFEP Records)

A briefing paper prepared by the Department of Agriculture, dated June 3 and designated CFEP 584/1, discussed that Department’s recommendation that the Sugar Act should be extended at the current session of the Congress to give the growers sufficient time to plan their operations and also because it would be more difficult to secure passage of an appropriate act during the subsequent election year. (ibid.) In a memorandum to Dillon, June 4, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs W.T.M. Beale, Jr., discussed the Department of State’s position that the Act should not be considered until the effect of the agrarian reform law on Cuban sugar producers was clarified. Beale wrote that the following considerations supported postponement of consideration of the Act until early in 1960:

  • “a) It is still too early to evaluate accurately the impact of all the measures the Castro regime may undertake.
    • “(i) We should seek to avoid any action which could be interpreted in Cuba and throughout Latin America as indicating United States approval of the steps taken in Cuba.
    • “(ii) We should also seek to avoid the situation in which domestic sugar groups or foreign countries might exploit the present uncertain situation as regards Cuba to push through legislation which would worsen Cuba’s present position, or which would contain provisions which Castro would interpret as a threat of U.S. intervention.
  • “b) It can be anticipated that there would be a sharp domestic reaction to any action which appeared not to take cognizance of the actions of a Government which had just threatened to expropriate American property in several fields without adequate compensation. The effect on U.S. investors who might be contemplating investment abroad should also be considered.” (Department of State, CCA Files: Lot 70 D 149)