The United States and Cuba: Business and Diplomacy, 1917-1960

By Robert F. Smith | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ONE

Prologue: Cuban-American
Relations, 1898-1919

I

Between 1898 and 1919 a pattern of Cuban-American relations developed which involved a rather close connection between investments, trade, and Cuban stability. An official of the State Department's Latin American Division -- Boaz Long -- noted this development in a memorandum to Secretary of State Robert Lansing in February 1918. In a summary statement of the period since 1898, Long enthusiastically reported:

The total trade of Cuba with the United States just prior to the end of the Spanish rule over that island ( 1897) amounted to about twenty-seven million dollars per annum. During the decade following the termination of our war with Spain the island of Cuba, guided by American influence, increased her trade with us by leaps and bounds and brought it to the startling total in 1917 of something over four hundred and thirty million dollars. This unprecedented development of Cuba may serve as an illustration of what probably would take place in the Central American countries provided this Government extended to them aid of a practical character as it did to Cuba.

The "aid" that Long discussed in more detail consisted of the maintenance of stability, investments, loans, and trade. 1

The protection of investments, the expansion of trade, and the stability of Cuba were mutually dependent parts of the pattern

-17-

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