506. Editorial Note

On April 20, Ambassador Bonsal delivered an address at the annual luncheon meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in Havana.

In telegram 2826 from Havana, April 16, Bonsal informed the Department of his intention to give the address, stated that he did not wish to burden the Department with the entire text, and asked for its views on three points he intended to make, which he quoted. (Department of State, Central Files, 611.37/4–1660) In telegram 1567 to Havana, April 19, which was drafted and cleared entirely within ARA, the Department concurred with the outline of Bonsal’s proposed address and suggested a few minor revisions. The Department also suggested that Bonsal release the text to the Cuban and U.S. press. (ibid., 611.37/4–1960) In telegram 1572 to Havana, April 19, which was drafted by Under Secretary of State Merchant, who also initialed it for the Secretary of State, the Department noted that after further consideration of the proposed speech, it was concerned at the difficulty and risks inherent in any comprehensive statement of U.S. policy toward Cuba in the pre-May 1 atmosphere and during the period when Congress was considering sugar legislation. The Department offered some additional suggestions for changes in the text and recommended that Bonsal keep the speech “as short as decently possible.” (ibid., 611.37/4–1660) In a memorandum, April 20, to the Executive Secretariat, the Secretary of State’s Special Assistant, Max V. Krebs, noted:

“In the light of the continuing acerbity of public statements by Castro and other Cuban leaders, and of the critical nature of our relations with Cuba, the Secretary desires until further notice that all public statements issued by the Department having to do with Cuba e cleared either by himself or one of the Under Secretaries.” (ibid., 737.00/4–2060)