Cuban Minister Announces Withdrawal of Asylum Offer, but Negotiations Go on

Secretary of Treasury Joaquim Ochotorena announced this afternoon withdrawal of the offer to admit the 907 refugees aboard the German liner St. Louis to the Isle of Pines, on the ground that the demand for a $500 cash guarantee per person had not been met by the noon deadline, but it was reliably learned that negotiations were continuing.

Mr. Ochotorena issued a statement announcing failure to reach agreement regarding the financial guarantee with Lawrence Berenson, representative of the Joint Distribution Committee and the National Coordinating Committee for Refugees. It was not immediately possible to obtain from Mr. Berenson his version of the negotiations. Mr. Ochotorena said “As the President had granted a 48-hour term, which ended today at noon, for a definite settlement, the Government rescinds the agreement and will flatly refuse the landing of the St. Louis refugees at any place in Cuban territory.”

(A spokesman for the J.D.C. in New York, which has been in constant telephonic communication with its representatives in Havana, stated: “At 1:30 o’clock this afternoon the negotiations with the Cuban Government were still in progress.)

Luis Clasing, agent for the Hamburg-American Line, said: “As far as I know, the St. Louis will proceed to Hamburg. However, final instructions must come from the home office.” He added that he had not yet been formally notified of the Cuban Government’s withdrawal of its offer.

(In New York, E.H. Dedrick, traffic manager of the Hamburg-American Line, said the St. Louis was en route to Hamburg “under full steam.” Asked whether the ship would turn back to Cuba in the event a settlement was reached, he declared: “Naturally, we will make every effort to land the passengers.” He gave the St. Louis’s position at noon as 28 North Lat., 79 West Long., which is off the coast of Florida, north of Miami.)

In his statement, Mr. Ochotorena summarized the negotiations regarding the Isles of Pines offer as follows: Agreement was reached on Sunday with Mr. Berenson to land the exiles on the isle after $500 cash guaranties would be remitted. Yesterday, however, Mr. Berenson made an alternative proposal which was not in accordance with the previous agreement. Mr. Berenson offered to put down $443,000 in guaranties for those aboard the St. Louis and for 150 additional refugees aboard the steamers Orduna and Flandre. This sum was to include expenses for feeding and lodging. The Cuban Government could not accept this proposal.

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