146. Memorandum From the Director of the Office of Caribbean and Mexican Affairs (Wieland) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Rubottom) [1]

Washington, October 10,1958.


Property Losses Suffered by U.S. Firms in Cuba From Rebel Activities

You mentioned in the ARA Staff Meeting on October 3 that you would be interested in the preparation of a list of incidents involving damage and other types of losses suffered by American firms in Cuba attributable to the rebel forces. DRA has prepared such a summary, including estimates of the money value of these losses where possible, covering the first nine months of this year. This summary is attached along with a detailed report of the Cuban-American Sugar Company of their losses over the past two years. [2]

The key conclusions to be drawn from this information are as follows:

1. Losses sustained by U.S. firms in Cuba for the first nine months of 1958 were well over $2.25 million.

2. The largest single loss was by the destruction of sugar, totaling over $1.5 million, which took place ast spring.

3. Losses sustained in the past three months have been felt principally by the Nicaro plant and the Cuban-American Sugar Company and involve deliberate interruptions of electric service, theft of equipment, and arson.

4. Frequency of damage to property of those two companies has increased in recent months.

The prognosis for the future is that the losses will probably increase because of (a) the rebel interest in disrupting economic activity, particularly transportation and communications, in Cuba as the November 3 election date approaches, and (b) the announced intention and capability of inflicting serious damage on the sugar crop, harvesting of which will begin in about six weeks.


We have already taken steps to impress upon the rebels the seriousness with which the United States Government views destruction of property of U.S. business concerns in Cuba. This may have some tempering effect on the Castros but their known attention to the effect of their actions on the U.S. press and public, as distinguished from the Government, would indicate that adverse reaction in the U.S. press to their apparent intentions to destroy U.S. property in Cuba would possibly be a more decisive deterrent. It is, therefore, suggested that information on losses already sustained such as contained in the DRA summary be made available to selected U.S. newsmen who have interested themselves in Cuban affairs in order to provide them with the facts to include in stories should they wish to do so. In making any such information available, it would be made clear that there would be no attribution to the source. [3]


1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/10-1058. Confidential. Drafted by Little, cleared with Dreier and Vaky, and initialed by Wieland and Rubottom.

2. Neither printed.

3. At the end of the source text, Rubottom wrote the following comment: "I do not expect the U.S. press will find this information very newsworthy."