STATE DEPARTMENT CABLE, FEBRUARY 1995
FM SEC STATE WASH DC TO ALL DIPLOMATIC POST PRIORITY
SUBJECT: BUYER BEWARE: CUBA MAY BE SELLING AMERICAN PROPERTY
1. SUMMARY AND ACTION REQUESTED:
CUBA MAY BE SELLING OR LEASING TO
FOREIGN INVESTORS PROPERTY EXPROPRIATED FROM U.S. NATIONALS
IN ORDER TO EARN DOLLARS AND INVESTMENT COMMITMENTS.
ADDRESSEES ARE ASKED TO MAKE THE POINTS IN PARAGRAPH 4 TO
APPROPRIATE HOST GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS, UNLESS THERE IS NO
INTEREST OR ACTIVITY ON THE PART OF HOST-COUNTRY NATIONALS
IN INVESTING/LEASING PROPERTY IN CUBA.
summary and action requested.
Statements by Cuban officials have suggested that Cuba has
always been willing to discuss claims by U.S. companies on
past investment expropriated by the [Government of Cuba].
In fact, the [Government of Cuba] has made no official public
statement, nor has it presented any formal proposal or offer
to the U.S. Government. Moreover, Cuban officials have always
spoken of "mutual claims" referring to the longstanding
[Government of Cuba] assertion that settlement of American
claims be balanced with the [Government of Cuba] claim of
approximately USD 48 billion against the United States for
damages Cuba alleges to have suffered because of the U.S.
Because the Department [of State] is reluctant at this point
to foreclose the option of the future return of property expropriated
by the [Government of Cuba], Department is concerned about
reports the Government of Cuba may be offering equity in Cuban
factories and other assets, including properties expropriated
from U.S. Nationals, in order to obtain badly needed hard
currency, oil and productive investment. Transfer of these
properties to third parties would complicate any attempt to
return them to their original owners.
Posts should make the following points at the appropriate
host-government economic ministries, as well as with any private
firms known to be considering investment in Cuba.
We understand that the Government of Cuba may be offering
foreign investors the opportunity to purchase land, manufacturing
facilities, tourist resorts and other assets in Cuba, some
of which were expropriated from U.S. Nationals. The Cubans
may also be offering joint venture partnerships.
As a result of Cuba's policies of internal repression and
lack of democratic institutions, the United States does not
have full diplomatic or commercial relations with Cuba.
The United States opposes investment in the Cuban economy
as long as the Government of Cuba continues to pursue these
We understand your government may have its own views on this.
Nonetheless, the United States Government strongly urges that
your government encourage your nationals and business firms
to avoid entering into contracts with the Government of Cuba,
or making investments in Cuba, which involve assets that were
expropriated from U.S. Nationals.
The U.S. originally imposed an economic embargo in 1962, after
Cuba nationalized some 1.8 billion (1962) dollars worth of
U.S.-owned property without paying prompt, adequate, and effective
compensation as required. Under international law, that embargo
remains in effect.
The U.S. Government has adjudicated its Nationals' claims
against the Government of Cuba. 5,911 claims have been determined
to be valid. Including interest, these claims today total
over 5.5 billion dollars.
As you are aware, U.S. claims against Cuba remain unsettled.
At an appropriate time, the U.S. Government expects to resolve
U.S. claims with the Government of Cuba.
At this point, we do not want to exclude the possibility that
the Government of Cuba will ultimately decide to return expropriated
property to their original owners. If the properties are purchased
by foreign investors before this occurs, restitution of property
will prove far more difficult. We urge you to take steps to
avoid this difficulty.
Care should be taken by prospective investors to ensure that
property the Cuban Government attempts to sell or otherwise
dispose of is not the subject of a claim by U.S. Nationals.
TO THIS END, BUSINESS FIRMS ARE ENCOURAGED TO CONTACT THE FOREIGN CLAIMS SETTLEMENT COMMISSION OF THE UNITED STATES AT THE ADDRESS BELOW:
FOREIGN CLAIMS SETTLEMENT COMMISSION
600 E STREET, NW
WASHINGTON, DC 20579 USA
TO INQUIRE WHETHER THE ASSETS AND PROPERTIES OF INTEREST TO THEM MAY BE THE SUBJECT OF AN OUTSTANDING CLAIM.