Chargé Sleeper to the Secretary of State.

No. 178.]

Sir: In continuation of legation dispatch No. 172 of the 4th instant, relative to the insurrection, I beg to report that strenuous efforts are being made by the “Veterans Association” and commercial interests to bring about peace.

Gen. Mario Menocal arrived here Tuesday morning and immediately called on the President, conferring later with the secretary of government. The same evening he presided at a meeting of the veterans at which it was decided to appoint a committee to confer with Dr. Alfredo Zayas, leader of the liberal party, and the revolutionary leaders now in prison. General Menocal expressed himself as satisfied with the attitude of the President and after his interview with Zayas and the others stated that he hoped to be able to bring about some amicable settlement.

Doctor Zayas was called before the veterans yesterday and said, in answer to inquiries that he did not think proposals of basis for peace should emanate from the liberal party, but that he was willing to use his influence to bring about peace, provided it should not be a “peace at any cost” and that it should be lasting. He also stated “that the present insurrection was no more than an “armed protest” against the frauds perpetrated at the last election.

The veterans have sent emissaries to the insurgent leaders in the field to obtain an expression of their views. These leaders will probably express themselves as directed by their leaders here when it is said the revolution is directed. As the revolutionists are not assuming the offensive the veterans hope to induce the Government to suspend active operations for several days to facilitate intercourse between the contending forces. I have been unofficially informed that the Government has privately instructed its commanders not to assume active aggressive operations for the present.

It is rumored that the President has authorized General Menocal to treat with the insurrectionists on the basis of his withdrawal from the moderate party, pledging himself to give an absolutely nonpartisan administration.

The executive committee of the moderate party met yesterday and adopted a resolution supporting the President in his policy as outlined in a recent interview. (See dispatch No. 172.)

In regard to the last part of paragraph 2, page 2, of my dispatch No. 172, I inclose herewith a translation of an open letter which appeared in the La Lucha of yesterday.

I inclose herewith clippings from Habana Post of even date relative to aggressive attitude of revolutionists which has not at this writing been verified.

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The military situation remains practically unchanged as far as active operations are concerned, although the insurgents continue to receive daily additions to their forces.

It is generally feared that if the insurgents fail to reach an agreement with the Government they will make it a pretext for pillaging and robbing and committing other outrages. From letters and eyewitnesses I gather that there are a great number of blacks under arms both in Pinar del Rio and Santa Clara provinces, and if discipline is once relaxed it may prove difficult to restrain them.

In this connection be it stated that in an interview yesterday with the secretary of government, General Montalvo, I again impressed upon him the necessity of giving effective protection to foreign interests and particularly the lives and interests of American citizens.

I also inclose herewith newspaper clippings pertinent to the situation.a

I have, etc.,

Jacob Sleeper,
Chargé d’Affaires ad interim.
  1. Newspaper clippings not printed.