530. Letter From the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Rubottom) to the Ambassador in Cuba (Bonsal)1
Dear Phil : [Here follow comments about certain Cuban figures.]
With respect to your talk with Tex Brewer2 I can well understand how you felt on learning what had transpired here. You are correct in assuming that the course of action had been laid out before you received the text of the Aide-Mémoire,3 and I do not challenge at all your modest suggestion that the Embassy might have helped in drafting the paper.
Actually, the die was cast at the meeting in Secretary Anderson’s office on June 3.4 Tom Mann had returned from Mexico that weekend and went into the meeting completely cold. I knew about the meeting only because Tom was good enough to call me a few minutes before he departed for it, and we did try to come up with a common line. Once the Anderson statement had been made, and the companies had agreed not to go along with the processing of Russian crude, we had to determine the best way to deal with a situation which would soon be de hecho.
Here my own views largely prevailed. Rather than react to the Cuban blast, which had to be expected when the government learned of the oil companies’ decision, I thought we ought to have a backdrop covering the whole gamut of our relations with Cuba so that the oil companies’ decision would come into better perspective. The statement was designed to serve as a backdrop and concomitantly to take the offensive in the light of Dorticos’ disgraceful attacks on us in his first 3 stops. I also thought that it would be helpful to us in the all out effort we are having to make to get the Administration’s version of the sugar bill, or at least a satisfactory compromise with the Cooley version. In this regard, I was glad to have your analysis on page 4 about some of the possible advantages that might flow from the decision that was taken. Incidentally, that decision was thoroughly ironed out with the Justice Department (Anti-Trust Division) and our own Legal Adviser.
Of course, we want the Embassy’s advice on Cuban policy and we undertake to obtain it wherever possible. You struck a particularly sensitive point with me in the final paragraph of your June 6 letter. The safety of Americans in Cuba practically never eludes my mind and conscience. While I thought that we could take the calculated risk that this decision involved, it was obvious that the Texas Company wanted [Page 947] to cut its own dependents down to the absolute minimum, and Esso has already been doing that. In fact, any American enterprise in Cuba should be quietly taking similar steps, it seems to me.
Wishing you all the best,