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Relations between the United States and Cuba

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Title:
Relations between the United States and Cuba
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[Dept. of State] Publication ;
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Welles, Sumner, 1892-1961
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International relations ( fast )
Foreign relations -- United States -- Cuba ( lcsh )
Foreign relations -- Cuba -- United States ( lcsh )
Cuba ( fast )
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non-fiction ( marcgt )

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address by the Honorable Sumner Welles, assistant secretary of state, before the Young Democratic Clubs of America, District of Columbia division ; Washington, March 29, 1934.

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THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE
LATIN AMERICAN SERIES, No. 7





RELATIONS BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND CUBA



ADDRESS BY THE
HONORABLE SUMNER WELLES
ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE

BEFORE THE
YOUNG DEMOCRATIC CLUBS OF AMERICA
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DIVISION

WASHINGTON, MARCH 29, 1934


UNITED STATES
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON: 1934


For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, Wshington, D.C. - Price 5 cents





























PUBLICATION No. 577
This address was originally issued by the Department of State as a mimeographed press release, for publication March 30, 1934.










RELATIONS BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND CUBA'
It is a privilege to be with you tonight. What I have to say is addressed to the forward-looking, liberal-minded, constructive youth of this country, and no more representative cross section of that element can be found than in the Young Democratic Clubs of America.
Under the Roosevelt administration this Government has made it clear that the interest of the American people demands that the keystone of our foreign policy must be the cultivation of a mutually helpful political understanding and a mutually profitable commercial relationship with the republics of the Western Hemisphere. The basis for this new orientation of policy was shown in the President's inaugural address, when he declared: "I would dedicate this nation to the policy of the good neighbor-the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others . ." It was further elaborated in his address on Pan American Day last year, when he pronounced these significant words:
"The essential qualities of a true Pan Americanism must be the same as those which constitute a good neighbor, namely, mutual understanding and, through such understanding, a sympathetic appreciation of the other's point of view. It is only in this manner that we can hope to build up a system of which confidence, friendship, and good will are the cornerstones." I Address delivered by the Honorable Sumner Welles, Assistant Secretary of State, before the Young Democratic Clubs of America, District of Columbia Division, at the Willard Hotel, Washington, D.C., at 11:30 p.m., Thursday, Mar. 29, 1934, and broadcast over a nationwide network of the National Broadcasting Co.






and the sincerity of these professions of faith was strikingly demonstrated by the Secretary of State during the course of the inter-American conference at Montevideo this winter, in the successful conclusion of which he personally played so distinguished and brilliant a part. As the result of this conviction that the chief interest and ultimate security of the United States lies in the loyal friendship of the Western Hemisphere, we must remove the just cause for such suspicions and doubts of our motives as have existed on the part of our neighbors; we must rectify the evils which have arisen through the creation of barriers to trade and commerce, which have not only operated to the prejudice of the other 20 American republics but have also reduced our foreign markets on this continent to a negligible fraction of what they should rightly be. At this moment when the fate of civilization itself seems to tremble in the balance it is right that the eyes of the American people should be fixed upon the vital importance of their relations with the republics of this continent. In this field, no one phase has received greater prominence than the course of events in that neighbor republic whichl is closer to us, in sentiment and physical proximity, than any of our neighbors, and that is the Republic of Cuba.
We cannot fairly estimate the situation which existed in Cuba during the winter of 1933 without reviewing certain significant facts in Cuban history. Thirty-five years ago, the United States helped the Cuban people win their independence as a free people. American blood was shed upon the soil of Cuba, as well as Cuban blood,to obtain Cuban liberty. By the permanent treaty concluded in 1903 between the United States and Cuba, this Government, however, procured the right, which it still retains, "to intervene in Cuba for the preservation of Cuban independence" and for "the maintenance of a government adequate for the protection of life, property, and individual liberty." That is the salient feature of the socalled Platt Amendment. We likewise imposed






upon the Cuban people restrictions with regard to their public indebtedness, certain requirements with regard to sanitation of the Republic, and further additional obligations of less drastic nature. This right of intervention in Cuba was exercised in 1906, when, after the resignation of President Estrada Palma, an American government was set up which governed Cuba for 3 years. That right has since repeatedly been used to control and determine the shaping of the destinies of Cuba. Occasionally the threat of intervention has been utilized to forestall revolution; at other times, to dictate financial policy. It has included the landing and retention for protracted periods of American troops on Cuban soil. No greater impediment to the free exercise by the Cuban people of their inherent right to sovereignty could have well been devised. It has operated as a means of deterring the Cubans from exercising the muscles of self-reliance essential for self-government. Whenever conditions arose in Cuba which required .correction, the Cuban people became accustomed to look to Washington for such correction instead of undertaking the task themselves. You cannot keep a child in braces until it reaches the age of maturity and expect it to walk successfully alone. The surprising fact is not that the Cuban people are not more adept at the art of self-government but, on the contrary, that they should have demonstrated so frequently their abounding capacity. It speaks volumes for the patriotism, for the integrity, and for the genius of the outstanding Cuban leaders of today that, notwithstanding the fetters that have b~en placed upon them since the early years of their independence, they should have so clearly demonstrated their ability to exercise their sovereign right of selfgovernment. As an outgrowth, of course, of this contractual right on the part of the United States, which amounted to telling the Cubans how their Government should be run and who should run it, there sprang up the control exerted as the result of investment of American






capital, which was poured into all streams of Cuban commercial activity, but particularly into the sugar industry. This material domination of Cuba's national resources by foreign capital brought with it as a natural result that the American interests operating in Cuba looked not to the Cuban Government, but to the United States Government, for the adjustment of their controversies with local officials, and for the determination of their general policies. The Cuban Government itself, to all intents and purposes, became frequently merely a facade behind which the economic fate of the Republic was determined. The properly regulated investment of American capital in Cuba need not in itself have been prejudicial-far from it. By the development of the country's resources, it brought wealth to the country and employment, directly or indirectly, to many hundreds of thousands of Cubans. It was in the fact that the regulation and the control of such capital was determined not by the Cubans themselves, not by the Government which they had elected, but, in the last analysis, by a powerful group of financial interests frequently potent in the councils of the Government which possessed the right to intervene in Cuba's domestic affairs, that the iniquity lay. American capital invested abroad should, in fact as well as in theory, be subordinate to the authority of the people of the country where it is located.
You have, therefore, the picture of a nation which during the thirty-odd years of its independent life has seen its economic policies dominated by the foreign capital invested in its resources, and its political life overshadowed by the foreign Government which possessed the' contractual right to intervene in its domestic affairs.
In 1925 General Machado was inaugurated President of Cuba. He came to the Presidency on a great wave of popularity. Possessed of a strong, dominating personality, he was peculiarly acceptable to foreign business,






which saw in him a guarantee of their vested interests. Conditions in the Republic were prosperous; the price of sugar was high; fortunes were being made over night. Judged by some earlier administrations in Cuba, President
-Machado's first term was a success. But in 1928 President Machado, notwithstanding his oft-repeated declaration that he would not accept reelection, obtained his own reelection by methods that were judged in flagrant violation of the Constitution and for a term 2 years longer than that previously provided for.
By the winter of 1930, Machado's popularity had vanished. His Government's sole reaction to this was to undertake repressive and dictatorial measures. The youth of Cuba and those ,patriots of the older generation who had consistently stood out against the violation of the Constitution which had made his reelection possible then rose against the Government. Open revolution in 1931 failed. The famous secret society, known as the A B C, was then organized, led by some of the most representative of the younger professional men in the Republic. Lawyers, physicians, business men, professors and students in the University, flocked to its ranks and to the ranks of other similar organizations. Terrorism became the order of the day. To combat these activities, President Machado created a secret police force to track down his adversaries. Those who were apprehended were frequently tortured, often murdered. The prisons were filled with political offenders. In reprisal, Government officials were assassinated. No man's life was secure, and the spirit of fear Teigned in the Republic. The professors and students closed the University of Habana, and for 3 years one of the foremost seats of learning in this hemisphere was occupied solely by a squad of soldiers.
Coincident with this political situation, President Hoover, after his good-will trip through Latin America, signed the Smoot-




6

Hawley Tariff Act, which materially increased the duty upon Cuban sugar and gave whatI appeared to be a death blow to the sugar industry of Cuba. This fact, together with the political apprehension, with the utter uncertainty as to what each day might bring forth, had brought about a complete standstill in Cuba's commercial life; and by the early spring of 1933, Cuban business was completely stagnant, and poverty and distress were widespread.
That was the situation that confronted the Roosevelt administration shortly after it t6ok office. Cuba was a country economically prostrate, ruled by a tyrannical dictatorship to which 95 percent of the people were fanatically opposed, a country in which the authorities of the land could only go abroad in armored cars, and usually at night, for fear of assassination, and in which bombings, terrorism, and murder were daily occurrences. The Hoover administration had watched the situation develop. It had taken the ground that the Cuban people had elected Machado and must swallow their own medicine-a ground theoretically invulnerable if one were willing to overlook the practical truth that the United States Government, through the influence which its treaty gave it and because of the policy which had been pursued by the Department of State in preceding years, was regarded by the vast majority of the Cubans as fully able to rectify these wrongs if it desired.
President Roosevelt does not and did not believe in intervention by the United States in the territory of a foreign republic, even when that right is granted to us by treaty. He has declared: "The definite policy of the United States from now on is one opposed to armed intervention." He believed and believes that the Cubans should decide their destinies for themselves; but he instructed his newly appointed Ambassador, if circumstances permitted, to undertake immediately the negotia-





tion for a new commercial convention, which
-it was hoped might alleviate the distressing economic condition of Cuba, and likewise instructed him, should the opportunity be afforded, to tender his good offices, should such be acceptable to the contending factions, to help in bringing about a solution of the intolerable political situation in Cuba.
It was perfectly obvious, although negotiations for a new commercial convention proceeded as rapidly as possible, that no correction,/ of economic conditions could be made effective so long as the political problem remained unsolved. After many weeks, both President Machado and the leaders of almost all of the important political groups opposed to him accepted my tender of good offices to bring about a solution of the political crisis in Cuba. As the result of the negotiations which then ensued, the Government declared a general amnesty of all political offenders, restored constitutional guaranties to the citizens of the Republic, abolished censorship, and restored the freedom of the press; while on their part the leaders of the opposition groups which had previously resorted to acts of terrorism and violence, gave their assurance that they would refrain from the commission of such acts during the course of these negotiations. The objective of the negotiations, with which President Machado personally assured me he was fully in accord, was the revision of the Constitution of the Republic in such manner as to permit the election of an impartial Vice President acceptable to all factions and the resignation of President Machado in his favor as soon as that step could be taken.
Early in August, a general strike throughout. the Republic became effective. The genesis of the strike lay in a local dispute in the city of Habana, but it was fomented by political influences opposed to the Government. At the height of the ensuing crisis, the officers of the Cuban Army, many of whom had long been
50414 34-2





opposed to the policy of brutal repression insisted upon by General Machado, determined to force the President's immediate resignation and, on August 12, so advised him. As soon as he was convinced that his Army had turned against him, the President and all of the members of his Cabinet, except his Secretary of War, resigned their offices and fled from the country. General Herrera, the Secretary of War, who now became Acting President in accordance with the procedure provided for in the Constitution of 1928, appointed as his Secretary of State Dr. Carlos Manuel, de C6spedes, who had long been favored by the political parties opposed to Machado as the ideal candidate to replace him, and then General Herrera in turn resigned and left the Republic. Dr. C6spedes at once assumed the Presidency and appointed a Cabinet representative of all of the revolutionary factions; and, inasmuch as he succeeded to the Presidency through the resignation of his precedessors and in accordance with the existing Constitution, he was recognized automatically by the United States Government and by all of the governments of the world as President of Cuba..
The violent termination of any brutal dictatorship, which has for years repressed an entire people and which is held responsible for the suffering and misery of thousands of families, gives rise inevitably, as history has shown, to excesses of the gravest character, particularly so, when economic distress is acute. Those excesses occurred in Cuba during the latter part of August. Vengeance was wreaked upon Machado's secret police and upon the properties of those members of his administration who were held primarily responsible for the atrocities of his government. Unemployment, starvation, poverty, existed on an unprecedented scale in every section of Cuba, and the liberties which the Cuban people had now regained threatened to degenerate into license.





The C~spedes government strove to correct abuses, to make effective a liberal policy of administrative reorganization for the purpose of holding national elections with the utmost rapidity to permit the people once more to be represented by a government of their own choosing after a new constitution had been i adopted. But it could not move rapidly enough to accomplish the miracles which the poor and destitute, as well as the politically ambitious, demanded. A mutiny against their officers was planned by the noncommissioned officers and the enlisted men in the Army, headed by Sergeant Batista. It should be made clear thit this mutiny, in its inception, had no political motive. It was directed primarily against certain of the officers identified with the Machado administration who were unpopular not only with the rank and file of the Army, but with public opinion as well. While President Cspedes was absent from the capital on a visit of mercy to the regions in the north of Cuba devastated by a severe cyclone, the mutiny broke out. At the last moment, the leaders of the mutiny were joined by a few members of the left-wing minority of the student body of the University of Habana and by a small group of adults comprising both a few high-minded and sincere radicals and a few self-seeking and professional agitators who had long figured in the old school of Cuban politics. This group formed a revolutionary junta and persuaded the ringleaders of the Army mutiny to turn the mutiny into a revolt against the Government; and with the support of the reorganized Army, a Committee of Five was selected to take over the Government of Cuba. The government of President C~spedes fell without resistance of any kind: A few days later, this Committee of Five elected one of its number, Dr. Grau San Martin, President of the Republic of Cuba; and with the continuing support of the Army, a government designated by him took over the administration of the country.






The situation which then ensued is worthy of closer analysis and more detailed description than my limited time makes it possible to undertake. Within a few days, the lines were sharply defined. The Grau San Martin regime not only lacked the support of, but was violently opposed by every one of the groups that had opposed Machado and had fought to free Cuba from his tyranny, with the exception of a small percentage of the University students. It was opposed as well by the business life of Cuba, and I do not refer to foreign business interests, but to those organizations and elements in the Republic which were purely Cuban. It was opposed by the professional classes. The most searching and reliable reports sent to me by Cubans and by Americans from every section of the country showed that the opposition to the regime was participated in by the peasant in the country, by the small farmer, by the merchant in the provincial village, by the average Cuban in whatever station of life or of whatever origin he might be. Organized labor as such likewise proclaimed its opposition: the more conservative unions on the ground that such an administration held out no hope for beneficial employment or real betterment of the conditions of labor; those unions whose leaders were frankly communistic opposed the regime because of the fact that the Army under Colonel Batista would not permit frank communism to rule unchecked. Furthermore, the administration had no program nor policy to pursue.
To curry favor among the unthinking, the new government created an artificial antiAmerican campaign. As leaders of the administration cynically admitted, that was the easiest way to get support. But it was significant that at the same time, secret agents of the Grau regime were striving desperately to reach an understanding with political lobbyists and representatives of the so-called bigbusiness interests in the United States.






For many weeks, until they finally severed their connection with the Grau San Martin regime, the Government was to all intents and purposes run and administered by a group of some 20 students. Decree after decree was issued, some of them excellent in iqtent but impossible of fulfillment; others, destructive of the most elementary rights universally recognized by the constitutions of this continent. Two major attempts to overthrow the Government were engineered with distressing loss of life. Political leaders, business leaders, intellectual leaders, once more fled the country and took refuge in the United States. By the time December came, a condition of unprecedented chaos existed, and a state verging upon frank anarchy had come about. If it had not been for the support of the Army, no such regime, unacceptable as it was to the enormous majority of the people, could possibly have remained in power for more than a brief few days.
The question of recognition by the United States came early to the fore. This Government, early in September, officially announced that it would welcome any government in Cuba that met with the substantial support of the Cuban people; that was able to maintain law and order; and that could carry out the normal functions and obligations of a stable government.
Because the influence of the United States has been exercised in Cuba, directly or indirectly, since the days of Cuban independence, the Cuban people believed that recognition of a Cuban government by the United States implied, necessarily, that that government was the government which possessed the moral support of the Government of the United States. The feeling had long existed in Cuba that any government recognized by us must be acquiesced in by the people of the Republic. That was the cause of the bitter criticism leveled against the United States for not






withdrawing recognition from Machado. That was a fact. It was a fact we might not relish but it was a fact we had to face if we intended to pursue a policy based on "a sympathetic appreciation of the other's point of view". The Government of the United States did not believe it had the moral right to recognize a government which unquestionably met with the whole-hearted opposition of all important elements in Cuban life from the laborer and the small farmer to the professional man and the business man, and thus help in saddling upon the Cuban people for an indefinite period a regime which they had had no part in putting in office, which they themselves showed they did not want, and which could only retain itself in power through armed force. Our refusal to recognize was based solely upon our sincere desire to pursue a policy of justice and fairness to Cuba and to the Cuban people. It was a policy that was based on right and on justice and was unassailable.
Throughout the months of the autumn of 1933, President Roosevelt and the Department of State had personally informed the representatives of the other republics of the Americas of the course of events in Cuba and had made available to them all facts at their disposal. The President had clearly explained that the sending of warships to Cuban waters had been undertaken solely for the purpose of affording protection to American lives in the event that they were in any actual physical danger, and for no other reason. During all of those turbulent weeks, not a man was landed on Cuban soil. That our policy was understood, appreciated, and concurred in by the other republics of this hemisphere was made evident by the fact that only four American republics recognized the Grau San Martin regime as the legitimate government of Cuba, and three of these republics took such action solely because of the previous adoption by them of the Estrada Doctrine of Recognition, which pro-






vides for the automatic recognition of any government in an American republic as soon as it takes office.
In January it was already clear that the Grau San Martin regime could no longer maintain itself. After a series of protracted negotiations, the revolutionary parties agreed that Col. Carlos Mendieta, whose qualities of leadership, integrity, and unselfish patriotism had won him wide-spread popularity in every section of his native land, and who had been foremost in opposing the Machado dictatorship from its inception, was the Provisional President upon whom they could all agree and whom they could all support. The Army, under Colonel Batista, cooperated, and the Cuban Navy likewise announced its approval. Dr. Grau San Martin resigned, and after a brief interregnum Colonel Mendieta came to power. He immediately appointed a Cabinet composed of conspicuously able leaders of all political factions, and within a few days had obtained the formal approval of every political party and of every important faction in Cuban life. Cuba, which for months had been living through a nightmare, responded with enthusiasm. Every city and town-every village-manifested its rejoicing by public celebrations, and the streets were filled with cheering throngs.
As soon as this Government was convinced that the government of President Mendieta possessed the substantial support of the Cuban people and gave every evidence of meeting the other requirements we had officially announced, once more after consultation with the representatives of the American republics, we extended recognition, and similar action was taken by every other American republic, as well as by the other nations of the world.
That, in brief detail, is the summary of events in Cuba during the past 12 months. It has been impossible to relate to you all of the important events which have taken place in that crowded period, but I can assure you that






nothing which you should know in order to form an unbiased opinion of the policy of this Government has been concealed.
To turn for a few minutes to the constructive measures of cooperation which we hope to be able to carry out, I will refer briefly to four which are now pending. On February 8, the President sent a message to the Congress of the United States outlining a program providing for the stabilization of the price and production of sugar in the United States. This program involved the establishment of fixed quotas of continental and insular marketing, as well as a fair quota for Cuba, based upon her exports here over a recent 3-year period. In 1924 Cuba shipped to this market 3,384,000 short tons. Owing to the steady increase of our tariff on Cuban sugar, culminating in the 2 cents a pound provided for in the Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930, Cuba was able to ship, in 1933, only 1,601,000 tons. This shrinkage was not due to increased production by the beet farmers of our West, or by the cane farmers of our South, who during that period increased their production only 500,000 tons, but to the vast increase in the production of sugar in the Philippines and to a lesser degree in our other insular possessions, where low production cost and the lack of payment of any duty in the market made rapid increase of production possible and advantageous. What Cuba has lost in the American market has consequently been of no direct advantage to the American beet farmer, but on the other hand it has been of the gravest and most serious prejudice to the American farmer who raises hogs, to the American farmer who raises wheat, and to our dairy farmers in every section. Let me read you what the Secretary of Agriculture stated only a few days ago:
"During the period of decline in Cuban sugar shipments to the continental United States, the purchasing power of the Cuban people was sharply reduced. This loss of Cuban buying power proceeded to a point where the Island no longer provided the once substantial market





it had afforded American products. Cuba formerly had been an important customer for many American farm commodities, including butter, cheese, milk, pork, lard, corn, oats, wheat flour, and-vegetable oils. Translated into land equivalent, the area required to produce the purchases of Cuba in 1928 was 1,738,000 acres. In that year, Cuba shipped 3,125,000 short tons of raw sugar to the United States market. The purchase by Cuba of' American farm products has declined as the market for Cuban sugar has been absorbed by our insular possessions. . In 1932, the acreage required to supply Cuba with the purchases of American farm products had declined to 921,033 acres. This meant that American farmers had lost an export outlet for farm products from 817,267 acres of land, or an area larger than the entire domestic harvested acreage of beets in 1932."
What the President of the United States proposes, therefore, is not only the act of a good neighbor, but also of obvious self-interest
-to the American farmer and manufacturer. We 'cannot regain the export trade for our own products unless we make it possible for the Cuban people to purchase them.
Secondly, we are concluding negotiations for a new commercial treaty which will stimulate trade between Cuba and the United States, and in which, in return for reciprocal concessions, the President has announced we will give favorable consideration to an increased preferential on Cuban sugar.
Another point which demonstrates our desire to help Cuba at this time is in the recent formation of the so-called Second Export-Import Bank, the resources of which will be utilized when appropriate opportunity occurs to stimulate in every possible and proper manner commerce between our two countries.
Finally, as the President announced in a public statement which he issued at Warm Springs on November 24, we are prepared to undertake the negotiation of the modification of our permanent treaty with Cuba. It is my sincere hope that these negotiations will result





in the elimination once for all of the right which we possess in the existing treaty to intervene in Cuba. The time has come when Cuba should stand on her own feet, when the Cuban people should solve their own destinies, and govern themselves as they may see fit. It is only on that basis that true friendship and real cooperation between the two peoples can be lasting, sincere, and effective.
Our policy toward Cuba is clean and honorable. We believe that our own moneychangers should no more determine the destinies of the Cuban people than that they shQuld determine the destinies of the American people. We hope that the present Cuban Government will carry out successfully the liberal and enlightened program which it has announced. We intend to cooperate with it to the mutual advantage of our two peoples. With mutual cooperation, forbearance, and understanding, we have every reason to hope that we will see in the not distant future a prosperous Cuba governed by Cubans, without intervention or interference from the United States, to the advantage not only of our two countries but of the entire continent as well.

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Full Text

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This volume was donated to LLMC to enrich its on-line offerings and for purposes of long-term preservation by Columbia University Law Library

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THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE LATIN AMERICAN SERIES, NO. 7 RELATIONS BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND ADDRESS BY THE HONORABLE SUMNER WELLES ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE BEFORE THE YOUNG DEMOCRATIC CLUBS OF AMERICA DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DIVISION WASHINGTON, MARCH 29, 1934 UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE WASHINGTON: 1934 For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D.C. --Price 5 cents CUBA

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PUBLICATION No. 577 This address was originally issued by the Department of State as a mimeographed press release, for publication March 30, 1934. rn

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RELATIONS BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND CUBA' It is a privilege to be with you tonight. What I have to say is addressed to the forward-looking, liberal-minded, constructive youth of this country, and no more representative cross section of that element can be found than in the Young Democratic Clubs of America. Under the Roosevelt administration this Government has made it clear that the interest of the American people demands that the keystone of our foreign policy must be the cultivation of a mutually helpful political understanding and a mutually profitable commercial relationship with the republics of the Western Hemisphere. The basis for this new orientation of policy was shown in the President's inaugural address, when he declared: "I would dedicate this nation to the policy of the good neighbor-the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others ...." It was further elaborated in his address on Pan American Day last year, when he pronounced these significant words: "The essential qualities of a true Pan Americanism must be the same as those which constitute a good neighbor, namely, mutual understanding and, through such understanding, a sympathetic appreciation of the other's point of view. It is only in this manner that we can hope to build up a system of which confidence, friendship, and good will are the cornerstones." I Address delivered by the Honorable Sumner Welles, Assistant Secretary of State, before the Young Democratic Clubs of America, District of Columbia Division, at the Willard Hotel, Washington, D.C., at 11:30 p.m., Thursday, Mar. 29, 1934, and broadcast over a nationwide network of the National Broadcasting Co. (1)

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and the sincerity of these professions of faith was strikingly demonstrated by the Secretary of State during the course of the inter-American conference at Montevideo this winter, in the successful conclusion of which he personally played so distinguished and brilliant a part. As the result of this conviction that the chief interest and ultimate security of the United States lies in the loyal friendship of the Western Hemisphere, we must remove the just cause for such suspicions and doubts of our motives as have existed on the part of our neighbors; we must rectify the evils which have arisen through the creation of barriers to trade and commerce, which have not only operated to the prejudice of the other 20 American republics but have also reduced our foreign markets on this continent to a negligible fraction of what they should rightly be. At this moment when the fate of civilization itself seems to tremble in the balance it is right that the eyes of the American people should be fixed upon the vital importance of their relations with the republics of this continent. In this field, no one phase has received greater prominence than the course of events in that neighbor republic which is closer to us, in sentiment and physical proximity, than any of our neighbors, and that is the Republic of Cuba. We cannot fairly estimate the situation which existed in Cuba during the winter of 1933 without reviewing certain significant facts in Cuban history. .Thirty-five years ago, the United States helped the Cuban people win their independence as a free people. American blood was shed upon the soil of Cuba, as well as Cuban blood,"to obtain Cuban liberty. By the permanent treaty concluded in 1903 between the United States and Cuba, this Government, however, procured the right, which it still retains, "to intervene in Cuba for the preservation of Cuban independence" and for "the maintenance of a government adequate for the protection of life, property, and individual liberty." That is the salient feature of the socalled Platt Amendment. We likewise imposed 2

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3 upon the Cuban people restrictions with regard to their public indebtedness, certain requirements with regard to sanitation of the Republic, and further additional obligations of less drastic nature. This right of intervention in Cuba was exercised in 1906, when, after the resignation of President Estrada Palma, an American government was set up which governed Cuba for 3 years. That right has since repeatedly been used to control and determine the shaping of the destinies of Cuba. Occasionally the threat of intervention has been utilized to forestall revolution; at other times, to dictate financial policy. It has included the landing and retention for protracted periods of American troops on Cuban soil. No greater impediment to the free exercise by the Cuban people of their inherent right to sovereignty could have well been devised. It has operated as a means of deterring the Cubans from exercising the muscles of self-reliance essential for self-government. Whenever conditions arose in Cuba which required -correction, the Cuban people became accustomed to look to Washington for such correction instead of undertaking the task themselves. You cannot keep a child in braces until it reaches the age of maturity and expect it to walk successfully alone. The surprising fact is not that the Cuban people are not more adept at the art of self-government but, on the contrary, that they should have demonstrated so frequently their abounding capacity. It speaks volumes for the patriotism, for the integrity, and for the genius of the outstanding Cuban leaders of today that, notwithstanding the fetters that have been placed upon them since the early years of their independence, they should have so clearly demonstrated their ability to exercise their sovereign right of selfgovernment. As an outgrowth, of course, of this contractual right on the part of the United States, which amounted to telling the Cubans how their Government should be run and who should run it, there sprang up the control exerted as the result of investment of American

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4 capital, which was poured into all streams of Cuban commercial activity, but particularly into the sugar industry. This material domination of Cuba's national resources by foreign capital brought with it as a natural result that the American interests operating in Cuba looked not to the Cuban Government, but to the United States Government, for the adjustment of their controversies with local officials, and for the determination of their general policies. The Cuban Government itself, to all intents and purposes, became frequently merely a facade behind which the economic fate of the Republic was determined. The properly regulated investment of American capital in Cuba need not in itself have been prejudicial-far from it. By the development of the country's resources, it brought wealth to the country and employment, directly or indirectly, to many hundreds of thousands of Cubans. It was in the fact that the regulation and the control of such capital was determined not by the Cubans themselves, not by the Government which they had elected, but, in the last analysis, by a powerful group of financial interests frequently potent in the councils of the Government which possessed the right to intervene in Cuba's domestic affairs, that the iniquity lay. American capital invested abroad should, in fact as well as in theory, be subordinate to the authority of the people of the country where it is located. You have, therefore, the picture of a nation which during the thirty-odd years of its independent life has seen its economic policies dominated by the foreign capital invested in its resources, and its political life overshadowed by the foreign Government which possessed the' contractual right to intervene in its domestic affairs. In 1925 General Machado was inaugurated President of Cuba. He came to the Presidency on a great wave of popularity. Possessed of a strong, dominating personality, he was peculiarly acceptable to foreign business,

PAGE 8

5 which saw in him a guarantee of their vested interests. Conditions in the Republic were prosperous; the price of sugar was high; fortunes were being made over night. Judged by some earlier administrations in Cuba, President Machado's first term was a success. But in 1928 President Machado, notwithstanding his oft-repeated declaration that he would not accept reelection, obtained his own reelection by methods that were judged in flagrant violation of the Constitution and for a term 2 years longer than that previously provided for. By the winter of 1930, Machado's popularity had vanished. His Government's sole reaction to this was to undertake repressive and dictatorial measures. The youth of Cuba and those patriots of the older generation who had consistently stood out against the violation of the Constitution which had made his reelection possible then rose against the Government. Open revolution in 1931 failed. The famous secret society, known as the A B C, was then organized, led by some of the most representative of the younger professional men in the Republic. Lawyers, physicians, business men, professors and students in the University, flocked to its ranks and to the ranks of other similar organizations. Terrorism became the order of the day. To combat these activities, President Machado created a secret police force to track down his adversaries. Those who were apprehended were frequently tortured, often murdered. The prisons were filled with political offenders. In reprisal, Government officials were assassinated. No man's life was secure, and the spirit of fear reigned in the Republic. The professors and students closed the University of Habana, and for 3 years one of the foremost seats of learning in this hemisphere was occupied solely by a squad of soldiers. Coincident with this political situation, President Hoover, after his good-will trip through Latin America, signed the Smoot-

PAGE 9

6 Hawley Tariff Act, which materially increased the duty upon Cuban sugar and gave what appeared to be a death blow to the sugar industry of Cuba. This fact, together with the political apprehension, with the utter uncertainty as to what each day might bring forth, had brought about a complete standstill in Cuba's commercial life; and by the early I spring of 1933, Cuban business was completely stagnant, and poverty and distress were widespread. That was the situation that confronted the Roosevelt administration shortly after it took office. Cuba was a country economically prostrate, ruled by a tyrannical dictatorship to which 95 percent of the people were fanatically opposed, a country in which the authorities of the land could only go abroad in armored cars, and usually at night, for fear of assassination, and in which bombings, terrorism, and murder were daily occurrences. The Hoover administration had watched the situation develop. It had taken the ground that the Cuban people had elected Machado and must swallow their own medicine-a ground theoretically invulnerable if one were willing to I overlook the practical truth that the United States Government, through the influence which its treaty gave it and because of the policy which had been pursued by the Department of State in preceding years, was regarded by the vast majority of the Cubans as fully able to rectify these wrongs if it desired. President Roosevelt does not and did not believe in intervention by the United States in the territory of a foreign republic, even when that right is granted to us by treaty. He has declared: "The definite policy of the United States from now on is one opposed to armed intervention." He believed and believes that the Cubans should decide their destinies for themselves; but he instructed his newly 4 appointed Ambassador, if circumstances permitted, to undertake immediately the negotiaI

PAGE 10

'7 tion for a new commercial convention, wluch it was hoped might alleviate the distressing economic condition of Cuba, and likewise instructed him, should the opportunity be afforded, to tender his good offices, should such be acceptable to the contending factions, to help in bringing about a solution of the intolerable political situation in Cuba. It was perfectly obvious, although negotiations for a new commercial convention proceeded as rapidly as possible, that no correction / of economic conditions could be made effective! so long as the political problem remained unsolved. After many weeks, both President Machado and the leaders of almost all of the important political groups opposed to him accepted my tender of good offices to bring about a solution of the political crisis in Cuba. As the result of the negotiations which then ensued, the Government declared a general amnesty of all political offenders, restored constitutional guaranties to the citizens of the Republic, abolished censorship, and restored the freedom of the press; while on their part the leaders of the opposition groups which had previously resorted to acts of terrorism and violence, gave their assurance that they would refrain from the commission of such acts during the course of these negotiations. The objective of the negotiations, with which President Machado personally assured me he was fully in accord, was the revision of the Constitution of the Republic in such manner as to permit the election of an impartial Vice President acceptable to all factions and the resignation of President Machado in his favor as soon as that step could be taken. Early in August, a general strike throughout, the Republic became effective. The genesis of the strike lay in a local dispute in the city of Habana, but it was fomented by political influences opposed to the Government. At the height of the ensuing crisis, the officers of the Cuban Army, many of whom had long been 50414-34-2

PAGE 11

8 opposed to the policy of brutal repression insisted upon by General Machado, determined to force the President's immediate resignation and, on August 12, so advised him. As soon as he was convinced that his Army had turned against him, the President and all of the members of his Cabinet, except his Secretary of War, resigned their offices and fled from the country. General Herrera, the Secretary of War, who now became Acting President in accordance with the procedure provided for in the Constitution of 1928, appointed as his Secretary of State Dr. Carlos Manuel, de Cespedes, who had long been favored by the political parties opposed to Machado as the ideal candidate to replace him, and then General Herrera in turn resigned and left the Republic. Dr. Cespedes at once assumed the Presidency and appointed a Cabinet representative of all of the revolutionary factions; and, inasmuch as he succeeded to the Presidency through the resignation of his precedessors and in accordance with the existing Constitution, he was recognized automatically by the United States Government and by all of the governments of the world as President of Cuba. The violent termination of any brutal dictatorship, which has for years repressed an entire people and which is held responsible for the suffering and misery of thousands of families, gives rise inevitably, as history has shown, to excesses of the gravest character, particularly so, when economic distress is acute. Those excesses occurred in Cuba during the latter part of August. Vengeance was wreaked upon Machado's secret police and upon the properties of those members of his administration who were held primarily responsible for the atrocities of his government. Unemployment, starvation, poverty, existed on an unprecedented scale in every section of Cuba, and the liberties which the Cuban people had now regained threatened to degenerate into license.

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9 The Cespedes government strove to correct abuses, to make effective a liberal policy of administrative reorganization for the purpose of holding national elections with the utmost rapidity to permit the people once more to be represented by a government of their own choosing after a new constitution had been adopted. But it could not move rapidly enough to accomplish the miracles which the poor and destitute, as well as the politically ambitious, demanded. A mutiny against their officers was planned by the noncommissioned officers and the enlisted men in the Army, headed by Sergeant Batista. It should be made clear that this mutiny, in its inception, had no political motive. It was directed primarily against certain of the officers identified with the Machado administration who were unpopular not only with the rank and file of the Army, but with public opinion as well. While President Cespedes was absent from the capital on a visit of mercy to the regions in the north of Cuba devastated by a severe cyclone, the mutiny broke out. At the last moment, the leaders of the mutiny were joined by a few members of the left-wing minority of the student body of the University of Habana and by a small group of adults comprising both a few high-minded and sincere radicals and a few self-seeking and professional agitators who had long figured in the old school of Cuban politics. This group formed a revolutionary junta and persuaded the ringleaders of the Army mutiny to turn the mutiny into a revolt against the Government; and with the support of the reorganized Army, a Committee of Five was selected to take over the Government of Cuba. The government of President Cespedes fell without resistance of any kind: A few days later, this Committee of Five elected one of its number, Dr. Grau San Martin, President of the Republic of Cuba; and with the continuing support of the Army, a government designated by him took over the administration of the country.

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10 The situation which then ensued is worthy of closer analysis and more detailed description than my limited time makes it possible to undertake. Within a few days, the lines were sharply defined. The Grau San Martin regime not only lacked the support of, but was violently opposed by every one of the groups that had opposed Machado and had fought to free Cuba from his tyranny, with the exception of a small percentage of the University students. It was opposed as well by the business life of Cuba, and I do not refer to foreign business interests, but to those organizations and elements in the Republic which were purely Cuban. It was opposed by the professional classes. The most searching and reliable reports sent to me by Cubans and by Americans from every section of the country showed that the opposition to the regime was participated in by the peasant in the country, by the small farmer, by the merchant in the provincial village, by the average Cuban in whatever station of life or of whatever origin he might be. Organized labor as such likewise proclaimed its opposition: the more conservative unions on the ground that such an administration held out no hope for beneficial employment or real betterment of the conditions of labor; those unions whose leaders were frankly communistic opposed the regime because of the fact that the Army under Colonel Batista would not permit frank communism to rule unchecked. Furthermore, the administration had no program nor policy to pursue. To curry favor among the unthinking, the new government created an artificial antiAmerican campaign. As leaders of the administration cynically admitted, that was the easiest way to get support. But it was significant that at the same time, secret agents of the Grau regime were striving desperately to reach an understanding with political lobby" ists and representatives of the so-called bigbusiness interests in the United States.

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11 For many weeks, until they finally severed their connection with the Grau San Martin regime, the Government was to all intents and purposes run and administered by a group of some 20 students. Decree after decree was issued, some of them excellent in iiqtent but impossible of fulfillment; others, destructive of the most elementary rights universally recognized by the constitutions of this continent. Two major attempts to overthrow the Government were engineered with distressing loss of life. Political leaders, business leaders, intellectual leaders, once more fled the country and took refuge in the United States. By the time December came, a condition of unprecedented chaos existed, and a state verging upon frank anarchy had come about. If it had not been for the support of the Army, no such regime, unacceptable as it was to the enormous majority of the people, could possibly have remained in power for more than a brief few days. The question of recognition by the United States came early to the fore. This Government, early in September, officially announced that it would welcome any government in Cuba that met with the substantial support of the Cuban people; that was able to maintain law and order; and that could carry out the normal functions and obligations of a stable government. Because the influence of the United States has been exercised in Cuba, directly or indirectly, since the days of Cuban independence, the Cuban people believed that recognition of a Cuban government by the United States implied, necessarily, that that government was the government which possessed the moral support of the Government of the United States. The feeling had long existed in Cuba that any government recognized by us must be acquiesced in by the people of the Republic. That was the cause of the bitter criticism leveled against the United States for. not

PAGE 15

12 withdrawing recognition from Machado. That was a fact. It was a fact we might not relish, but it was a fact we had to face if we intended to pursue a policy based on "a sympathetic appreciation of the other's point of view". The Government of the United States did not believe it had the moral right to recognize a government which unquestionably met with the whole-hearted opposition of all important elements in Cuban life from the laborer and the small farmer to the professional man and the business man, and thus help in saddling upon the Cuban people for an indefinite period a regime which they had had no part in putting in office, which they themselves showed they did not want, and which could only retain itself in power through armed force. Our refusal to recognize was based solely upon our sincere desire to pursue a policy of justice and fairness to Cuba and to the Cuban people. It was a policy that was based on right and on justice and was unassailable. Throughout the months of the autumn of 1933, President Roosevelt and the Department of State had personally informed the representatives of the other republics of the Americas of the course of events in Cuba and had made y available to them all facts at their disposal. The President had clearly explained that the sending of warships to Cuban waters had been undertaken solely for the purpose of affording protection to American lives in the event that they were in any actual physical danger, and for no other reason. During all of those turbulent weeks, not a man was landed on Cuban soil. That our policy was understood, appreciated, and concurred in by the other republics of this hemisphere was made evident by the fact that only four American republics recognized the Grau San Martin regime as the legitimate government of Cuba, and three of these republics took such action solely because of the previous adoption by them of the Estrada Doctrine of Recognition, which pro-

PAGE 16

13 vides for the automatic recognition of any government in an American republic as soon as it takes office. In January it was already clear that the Grau San Martin regime could no longer maintain itself. After a series of protracted negotiations, the revolutionary parties agreed that Col. Carlos Mendieta, whose qualities of leadership, integrity, and unselfish patriotism had won him wide-spread popularity in every section of his native land, and who had been foremost in opposing the Machado dictatorship from its inception, was the Provisional President upon whom they could all agree and whom they could all support. The Army, under Colonel Batista, cooperated, and the Cuban Navy likewise announced its approval. Dr. Grau San Martin resigned, and after a brief interregnum Colonel Mendieta came to power. He immediately appointed a Cabinet composed of conspicuously able leaders of all political factions, and within a few days had obtained the formal approval of every political party and of every important faction in Cuban life. Cuba, which for months had been living through a nightmare, responded with enthusiasm. Every city and town-every village-manifested its rejoicing by public celebrations, and the streets were filled with cheering throngs. As soon as this Government was convinced that the government of President Mendieta possessed the substantial support of the Cuban people and gave every evidence of meeting the other requirements we had officially announced, once more after consultation with the representatives of the American republics, we extended recognition, and similar action was taken by every other American republic, as well as by the other nations of the world. That, in brief detail, is the summary of events in Cuba during the past 12 months. It has been impossible to relate to you all of the important events which have taken place in that crowded period, but I can assure you that

PAGE 17

14 nothing which you should know in order to form an unbiased opinion of the policy of this Government has been concealed. To turn for a few minutes to the constructive measures of cooperation which we hope to be able to carry out, I will refer briefly to four which are now pending. On February 8, the President sent a message to the Congress of the United States outlining a program providing for the stabilization of the price and production of sugar in the United States. This program involved the establishment of fixed quotas of continental and insular marketing, as well as a fair quota for Cuba, based upon her exports here over a recent 3-year period. In 1924 Cuba shipped to this market 3,384,000 short tons. Owing to the steady increase of our tariff on Cuban sugar, culminating in the 2 cents a pound provided for in the Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930, Cuba was able to ship, in 1933, only 1,601,000 tons. This shrinkage was not due to increased production by the beet farmers of our West, or by the cane farmers of our South, who during that period increased their production only 500,000 tons, but to the vast increase in the production of sugar in the Philippines and to a lesser degree in our other insular possessions, where low production cost and the lack of payment of any duty in the market made rapid increase of production possible and advantageous. What Cuba has lost in the American market has consequently been of no direct advantage to the American beet farmer, but on the other hand it has been of the gravest and most serious prejudice to the American farmer who raises hogs, to the American farmer who raises wheat, and to our dairy farmers in every section. Let me read you what the Secretary of Agriculture stated only a few days ago: "During the period of decline in Cuban sugar shipments to the continental United States, the purchasing power of the Cuban people was sharply reduced. This loss of Cuban buying power proceeded to a point where the Island no longer provided the once substantial market

PAGE 18

15 it had afforded American products. Cuba formerly had been an important customer for many American farm commodities, including butter, cheese, milk, pork, lard, corn, oats, wheat flour, and -vegetable oils. Translated into land equivalent, the area required to produce the purchases of Cuba in 1928 was 1,738,000 acres. In that year, Cuba shipped 3,125,000 short tons of raw sugar to the United States market. The purchase by Cuba of American farm products has declined as the market for Cuban sugar has been absorbed by our insular possessions. ...In 1932, the acreage required to supply Cuba with the purchases of American farm products had declined to 921,033 acres. This meant that American farmers had lost an export outlet for farm products from 817,267 acres of land, or an area larger than the entire domestic harvested acreage of beets in 1932." What the President of the United States proposes, therefore, is not only the act of a good neighbor, but also of obvious self-interest to the American farmer and manufacturer. We cannot regain the export trade for our own products unless we make it possible for the Cuban people to purchase them. Secondly, we are concluding negotiations for a new commercial treaty which will stimulate trade between Cuba and the United States, and in which, in return for reciprocal concessions, the President has announced we will give favorable consideration to an increased preferential on Cuban sugar. Another point which demonstrates our desire to help Cuba at this time is in the recent formation of the so-called Second Export-Import Bank, the resources of which will be utilized when appropriate opportunity occurs to stimulate in every possible and proper manner commerce between our two countries. Finally, as the President announced in a public statement which he issued at Warm Springs on November 24, we are prepared to undertake the negotiation of the modification of our permanent treaty with Cuba. It is my sincere hope that these negotiations will result

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16 in the elimination once for all of the right which we possess in the existing treaty to intervene in Cuba. The time has come when Cuba should stand on her own feet, when the Cuban people should solve their own destinies, and govern themselves as they may see fit. It is only on that basis that true friendship and real cooperation between the two peoples can bet lasting, sincere, and effective. Our policy toward Cuba is clean and honorable. We believe that our own moneychangers should no more determine the destinies of the Cuban people than that they should determine the destinies of the American people. We hope that the present Cuban Government will carry out successfully the liberal and enlightened program which it has announced. We intend to cooperate with it to the mutual advantage of our two peoples. With mutual cooperation, forbearance, and understanding, we have every reason to hope that we will see in the not distant future a prosperous Cuba governed by Cubans, without intervention or interference from the United States, to the advantage not only of our two countries but of the entire continent as well. 0


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