Imagini ale paginilor

achievement of either of these objectives. The real question today is not whether the U.S. should remove the embargo-most fair minded observers would agree it should-but whether it should be lifted unilaterally or within the context of the simultaneous resolution of the other major questions which divide our two countries. The Castro regime has, of course, indicated that it will not undertake negotiations until the embargo is lifted, although it has said that it will discuss the procedural framework within which negotiations can be conducted. Since the Cubans take the position that the lifting of the embargo is a precondition for substantive negotiations, we are faced with the need for making a determination as to whether or not we should remove the embargo for the purpose, among other things, of getting the negotiations underway.

It is interesting, in this regard, to examine the way in which we handled a similar situation with the People's Republic of China. At the time the United States initiated efforts to normalize relations with the PRC, it unilaterally removed the embargo which had been imposed on trade between our two countries in spite of the fact that there were still outstanding issues-such as indemnification for the seized property of American firms and individuals-dividing us. If we could act in so magnanimous a manner toward mainland China, there is no reason why we can't be comparably conciliatory toward Cuba.

Those opposed to the unilateral lifting of the embargo claim, however, that by doing so we will deny ourselves necessary leverage in any future negotiations with Cuba. This would, upon reflection, seem to be a rather restricted view of our negotiating possibilities. Such matters as trade credits, tariff preferences, most-favorednation status and the future of the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo would still have to be resolved--and any one of these questions would provide the United States with useful bargaining leverage. It seems safe to say, therefore, that these concerns are not well founded and that the American negotiating position would not significantly be impaired by eliminating the trade prohibitions which now exist.

In any case, to the extent that the embargo has helped to make Cuba economically dependent on the Soviet Union, it would be in our own interest to lift the embargo thereby giving Castro the opportunity to follow the example of other Communist nations such as Rumania and Yugoslavia, which have displayed a certain degree of independence from Moscow over the years.

It would be well at this time to take a close look at the embargo itself which, it turns out, does not consist of one single document but is comprised of several statutory acts and executive decrees. The six primary legal provisions which form the basis of the trade embargo with Cuba include:

1. Section 620 (a)(1) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, which authorizes an embargo on all trade with Cuba;

2. The Export Administration Act of 1969, as amended, which authorizes executive control over exports in general;

3. Section 5(b) of the Trading With the Enemy Act, authorizing the regulation of all financial and commercial transactions;

4. Presidential Proclamation No. 3447 of February 3, 1962, which proclaims the embargo and directs the Secretaries of the Treasury and of Commerce to implement it;

5. Cuban Assets Control Regulations, regulating all financial and commercial transactions with Cuba; and,

6. Those Export Administration Regulations which regulate exports to Cuba.

It is important to note that the three aforementioned statutes merely authorize, rather than direct, the President to implement the provisions of the laws. Further, the Presidential proclamation delegates the exercise of the embargo to two executive departments. It has been concluded by some, therefore, that the embargo can either be modified or removed by revisions of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations and the Export Administration Regulations. I understand that basically the same method was used 4 years ago to end the embargo on trade with the People's Republic of China.

Under the existing legislation the administration can eliminate the embargo on its own initiative. If the administration should decide to act, legislative action will obviously not be necessary. However, since it would be possible for the administration through its overall authority to maintain the embargo, it may also be necessary for the Congress to go beyond simply repealing the embargo but to further prohibit administratively imposed sanctions on Cuba.

Although the elimination of the embargo on both exports and imports is within the purview of the executive branch and does not necessarily require congressional action, there are several other factors which must be resolved before full economic normalization could be achieved. Several months after the imposition of the total trade embargo on Cuba, for example, the United States suspended Cuba's most-favored-nation status and its tariff preference. As 1 of the 23 original signatories of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), Cuba is entitled to MFN treatment by the United States. The MFN status was unilaterally suspended by the United States, without any notification to or approval by the GATT contracting parties. While Cuba had the right to appeal this action to GATT, it chose not to do so. Since the original revocation of the MFN in May 1972, this action has been reinforced by the designation of Cuba as a Communist nation within the meaning of section 5 of the Trade Agreements Extension Act of 1951, section 401 of the 1974 Trade Act which denies MFN status to any country which did not have it at the time of the enactment of the act, and section 402 of the Trade Act of 1974 regarding freedom of emigration. According to a recent Library of Congress study, there are five other provisions of the Trade Act of 1974 which would preclude bestowing MFN status on Cuba and the general prohibitions under section 620(a) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 could be interpreted as barring any special benefit to Cuba, such as nondiscriminatory treatment or MFN. It should be noted that this latter provision can be waived by the executive if it is felt to be in the national interest. Otherwise, specific legislative action is required to restore MFN status to Cuba.

As a result, there is now a curious conflict which exists between our obligation to provide MFN status to Cuba under the terms of the GATT agreement and subsequent U.S. laws prohibiting the provision of such special treatment for Cuba. Under the American system, the law which was passed last has precedence over those previously enacted. From a constitutional point of view, therefore, Cuba would not

be eligible for MFN status even though, by denying such status to Cuba, we would be in violation of GATT.

Prior to the 1959 revolution, and the break in economic relations, Cuba enjoyed preferential import duty rates, most of which were 20 percent lower than those applicable to American imports from other nations. The tariff preferences were also suspended under the provisions of section 401 of the Tariff Classification Act of 1962. This action has been reinforced by the expropriation provisions (620 (a) (2)) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, as a tariff preference could be interpreted as a "benefit." Furthermore, Cuba would fail to qualify for the generalized system of preference for developing countries under title V of the 1974 Trade Act as this law prohibits the President from granting such designation to a Communist nation unless it has MFN status, is a party to GATT, a member of the IMF, and is not controlled by international communism. Also, the country must have taken steps to compensate owners for any expropriated property owned by U.S. citizens. Since Cuba fails to meet any of the above criteria, it would not, even though it belongs to GATT, qualify for preferences. Only the Congress, therefore, could restore the Cuban preference or permit Cuba to participate in the general system of preferences.

Another complicating factor, which is out of the hands of either the legislative or executive branches, is the question of property and assets of Americans expropriated by the Cuban Government for which compensation has yet to be made. This has been aptly described as more of a practical obstacle to the normal conduct of commercial relations once the embargo is removed. It is anticipated that U.S. compensation claims against Cuba could interfere with or actually prevent normal banking, shipping, and commercial relations between our two nations as Cuban assets in this country could be attached by the various claimants unless some type of compensation agreement is concluded. Some $1.8 billion in expropriated and nationalized American property must still be compensated for and, to date, the Cuban Government has shown no indication of takin, any substantive action in this regard.

Interestingly enough, Cuba reportedly intends to raise a counterclaim with the United States for economic damage it believes it suffered as a result of the blockade when negotiations on U.S. claims actually get underway. I attempted to elicit from the Vice Minister of Foreign Trade an indication as to the estimate of damage done to the Cuban economy by the blockade but he claimed that an answer could not be given as he was not at that time at the bargaining table. He was also unable to respond to my inquiry as to whether they were also prepared to submit claims for damage done by the other Latin American nations that also participated in the blockade. Their inability to respond to this question indicates that the counterclaim has been put forward as a bargaining device rather than as a well thought out and closely reasoned claim for compensation.

Assuming that the embargo is lifted and efforts are made to resume trade, Cuba will clearly encounter serious problems in achieving MFN status under the 1974 Trade Act because of its emigration policies. In many respects Cuba is a repressive and totalitarian society. There is a complete absence of a free press and the organization of opposition political parties is strictly prohibited. No opportunity is

lost by the Government in its continuing efforts to glorify the achievements of the revolution. A variety of vehicles are used for this purpose ranging from the songs sung by the patients at the psychiatric hospital, to the shows produced at the Tropicana night club in Havana, to the signs along practically every road which carry 26 slogans which have been approved by the Cuban Communist Party, to the home at the Pioneers camp once occupied by Ernesto Che Guevara in which there is an elaborate photo display of the late guerilla leader's life and adventures, to kindergarten classrooms where the pictures drawn by the children feature their fear of fascism in Chile.

I had been impressed by testimony before the Bingham and Fraser subcommittees that none of the congressional visits to Cuba had inquired into the status of various Cuban political prisoners. Thus, shortly after my arrival, I requested permission to meet with a number of political prisoners whose names I furnished to Cuban officials. In some instances the Cubans claimed that they did not have such persons listed as prisoners and in other cases I simply was not permitted to meet with them, such as Major Huber Matos, reported to be currently imprisoned in Havana. Also, I attempted to explore the possibility of family reunification and some procedure whereby relatives in the United States could visit relatives in Cuba and Cubans could come to the United States for brief visits with family members here. Unfortunately, the response was not encouraging. The Cubans claimed that they did not have the facilities to handle large numbers of persons who may wish to visit Cuba-although, parenthetically, they intend to initiate a 5-year plan to develop their tourist industryand, as far as visits to the United States are concerned, they would prefer to handle them on a case-by-case basis. They also maintained that there was not sufficient space on outgoing flights, even though there were only about 15 to 20 passengers on the Cubana flight we took from Havana to Kingston.


My conversations convinced me that Cuba is interested in resuming trade with the United States, more in terms of what they can import from us than what they can export to us. If the embargo is lifted, it is most unlikely American trade with Cuba will come anywhere near the 70 percent level it reached before the revolution. While Cuba's 5-year plan for industrial development reportedly has not taken the effects of the blockade into account, equipment and machinery produced in the United States could be useful. Items to be imported from the United States would also include spare partswhich are desperately needed in a number of important areas of the country's industry; medicines and medical supplies; feedstocks; agricultural equipment; and foodstuffs of almost all types except tropical products. The exports would be pretty much limited to sugar, tobacco, fish, and citrus products. One primary advantage to Cuba, particularly in terms of imports, would be the lower transportation costs which they would pay as compared to the high costs now involved in securing needed materials from Eastern Europe, Japan, and other distant lands.

Alberto Bentacourt Roa, president of the Cuban Chamber of Commerce, believes that trade with Cuba will actually begin through

the U.S. subsidiaries in third countries, particularly as this portion of the embargo has been lifted and it has already begun. He expects that Canada and Mexico would be the prime beneficiaries inasmuch as they are already trading partners with Cuba and have sizable U.S. subsidiaries.

Expanding trade with Cuba will certainly not be any panacea for resolving the U.S. unemployment crisis. Assuming 1975 Cuban imports would equal approximately $2.5 billion and the United States would have a half of the trade, it has been estimated that only about 40,000 jobs would be created. Even at the prerevolutionary level of two-thirds of Cuba's imports, only some 55,000 employment opportunities would be generated. Since the level of our future trade with Cuba is likely to be far less than what it was before the revolution, however, it seems clear the creation of new jobs in our own country is not one of the primary justifications for the elimination. of the embargo.

At such time as trade is reestablished it will most likely be necessary to consider the question of credits for Cuba. Certainly this has been an important factor in Cuba's trading relations with other nonsocialist nations. The United Kingdom, for example, provides $580 million in credits and will furnish more if necessary; Spain provides $900 million over a 3-year period; France $340 million for 1975-76; Canada-$100 million for 1975; Italy-$100 million; and so on. Cuba also has different types of credit relations with socialist nations which are earmarked for industrial development covering 25 years at 2 to 2.5 percent. This is one major bargaining tool which the United States would not sacrifice by lifting the embargo before negotiations began.

My visit to Cuba has confirmed the findings of those other Members of Congress, most journalists, and academicians who have traveled there, that the continuation of the trade embargo and political isolation of the Castro regime serves no useful purpose. In his latest book, "Revolution in Cuba," Herbert L. Matthews concludes that" Americans are entitled to look upon the Cubans of today as opponents of their government and its policies, but not as enemies of the American people. Cubans do not feel themselves to be such. . . ." My conversations with Cuban citizens at all levels-the various government officials with whom I met, the campesinos and factory workers in whose homes and apartments I visited, vacationers on the beach at Varadero, the University of Havana students with whom I spent several enjoyable and informative hours at Santa Maria del Mar, and the fine young men and women who accompanied us throughout our stay-revealed that, without exception, they felt no rancor toward the American people and were most anxious to have relations between our two nations normalized. They had been required to make sacrifices because of the embargo and are willing to continue doing so as long as the embargo remains in effect. The advantages to resuming trade are obvious and our persistence in continuing to isolate the Cuban people will not bring about any change in the direction of the Cuban Revolution or in the infrastructure of Cuban society or political life. Ignoring a nation 90 miles off our shore makes no more sense than our earlier refusal to recognize a nation of over 700 million people at the other end of the Earth. We moved toward the normalization of relations with

« ÎnapoiContinuă »