544. Memorandum of a Discussion, White House, Washington, July 6, 1960, 11 a.m.1

SUBJECT

  • Meeting with the President on Cuban Sugar, 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, July 6, 1960

Present with the President were Dillon (who had sought the meeting), Rubottom, Mann, Secretary Anderson, True Morse, General Persons, Kendall, John Eisenhower, Hagerty, and Paarlberg. The meeting lasted about seventy-five minutes.

Kendall outlined provisions of the Sugar Bill, H.R. 12311, the Act passed by the Congress July third.2

Kendall then discussed the proposed proclamation, the main effect of which is to cut the Cuban quota for the rest of 1960 by 700,000 tons and to delegate to the Secretary of Agriculture responsibility for procuring needed sugar from other free world sources.

The President said that Agriculture’s authority should be exercised “with concurence of the Secretary of State,” and that the proclamation should so read.

A question arose as to whether the sugar should be procured at the world price or at the U.S. price, which is almost twice as high. The President said that for the 700,000 tons we should pay what we would have paid Cuba. He reiterated this point several times.

There was a brief discussion as to where the sugar should be purchased, and it was indicated that the law spelled this out clearly. The law, contrary to the recommendations State had made to the Congress, forces us to buy from the Dominican Republic.

Mr. Morse said that our necessary acquisition may be greater than 700,000 tons, or that the 700,000 tons may be too deep a cut. In either case our hands are free to make adjustments.

Secretary Anderson said that relations with Cuba would be taken up July seventh in the National Security Council. He pointed out that we were taking a decisive step, that the Cubans were likely to retaliate and that other economic measures might be necessary. He mentioned import-export controls, tariff measures, and the blocking of foreign exchange.

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The President said that while we had to base the action on our concern for a dependable sugar supply, it was in effect “economic sanctions.”

The President emphasized the importance of looking forward to subsequent steps which might be needed of an economic, diplomatic, and strategic nature.

Assistant Secretary Mann said it was important to try to carry Latin American attitudes with us.

Under Secretary Dillon said that the American Ambassador in Havana had some apprehension about the use of economic sanctions from the standpoint of security for American citizens in Cuba. No one present, however, expressed any reluctance with respect to cutting the Cuban sugar quota.

The draft press release was reviewed and proposed changes were suggested. The agreed plan was to make a slight change in the proclamation, rewrite the press release and issue both, together with the signing of the bill that same afternoon.3

Don Paarlberg 4
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Project “Clean Up” Records, Cuba. The source text is a memorandum for the Staff Secretary prepared by Paarlberg on July 7. Eleven pages of handwritten notes on the discussion, apparently in Paarlberg’s hand, are ibid.
  2. P.L. 86–592. (74 Stat. 330)
  3. For text of the Proclamation (No. 3355) and the accompanying statement of July 6 by President Eisenhower, see Department of State Bulletin, July 25, 1960, pp. 140–141.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.