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

1081. In view Castro’s latest declarations regarding immediate expropriation cattle lands in Camaguey,2 Department requests Ambassador, if he perceives no objection, call immediately on appropriate authorities GOC following up our discussions Roa here, his recent discussion authorities there in line with GOC reply our note3 with its implied willingness to “listen with attention and respect to the opinions of all” and to “all suggestions and comments”. In such discussion you may state that Agrarian Reform Law and GOC note now receiving careful study by legal and other experts USG and that you will expect in near future make detailed observations regarding law and note. You should make every effort persuade GOC avoid precipitate action in carrying out Agrarian Reform Law in its application American properties referring past and present friendly relations two governments, and possibility actions this nature may make more difficult the cooperation desired by both governments in order that problems arising from law may be quickly and amicably settled and our historic political and economic ties thereby strengthened.

Of serious concern Department is report of seizure Kleberg and other U.S. cattle properties plus possibly some sugar lands of U.S. companies including Punta Alegre Sugar Corporation Mill at Baragua. [Page 544] Such seizure would greatly complicate further negotiations with GOC on overall aspects Agrarian Reform Law. You are requested bring this matter attention GOC referring to provisions Article 25 which allows 3 months period for filing of title documents and other information required of owners before land shall be expropriated.

Department will send you further detailed instructions soonest.4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 837.16/6–2559. Confidential. Drafted by Stevenson; cleared with Little, Rubottom, and in draft with L/C; and approved by Wieland who signed for Herter.
  2. Castro made this statement in a television appearance the night of June 23; it was briefly summarized in telegram 1610 from Havana, June 24. (ibid., 837.16/6–2459)
  3. See Documents 321 and 318.
  4. Not found.