The President to the Cuban Minister.
Oyster Bay, N. Y., September 14, 1906.
My Dear Señor Quesada: In this crisis in the affairs of the Republic of Cuba, I write you, not merely because you are the minister of Cuba accredited to this Government, but because you and I were intimately drawn together at the time when the United States intervened in the affairs of Cuba with the result of making her an independent nation. You know how sincere my affectionate admiration and regard for Cuba are. You know that I never have done, and never shall do, anything in reference to Cuba save with such sincere regard for her welfare. You also know the pride I felt because it came to me as President to withdraw the American troops from the island of Cuba and officially to proclaim her independence and to wish her godspeed in her career as a free republic. I desire now through you to say a word of solemn warning to your people, whose earnest wellwisher I am. For seven years Cuba has been in a condition of profound peace and of steadily growing prosperity. For four years this peace and prosperity have obtained under her own independent government. Her peace, prosperity, and independence are now menaced; for of all possible evils that can befall Cuba the worst is the evil of anarchy, into which civil war and revolutionary disturbances will assuredly throw her.
Whoever is responsible for armed revolt and outrage, whoever is responsible in any way for the condition of affairs that now obtains, is an enemy of Cuba; and doubly heavy is the responsibility of the man who, affecting to be the especial champion of Cuban independence, [Page 481] takes any step which will jeopardize that independence. For there is just one way in which Cuban independence can be jeoparded, and that is for the Cuban people to show their inability to continue in their path of peaceful and orderly progress. This nation asks nothing of Cuba, save that it shall continue to develop as it has developed during these past seven years; that it shall know and practice the orderly liberty which will assuredly bring an ever-increasing measure of peace and prosperity to the beautiful Queen of the Antilles. Our intervention in Cuban affairs will only come if Cuba herself shows that she has fallen into the insurrectionary habit, that she lacks the self-restraint necessary to secure peaceful self-government, and that her contending factions have plunged the country into anarchy.
I solemnly adjure all Cuban patriots to band together, to sink all differences and personal ambitions, and to remember that the only way that they can preserve the independence of their Republic is to prevent the necessity of outside interference, by rescuing it from the anarchy of civil war. I earnestly hope that this word of adjuration of mine, given in the name of the American people, the stanchest friends and well-wishers of Cuba that there are in all the world, will be taken as it is meant, will be seriously considered, and will be acted upon; and if so acted upon Cuba’s permanent independence, her permanent success as a Republic, are assured.
Under the treaty with your Government, I, as President of the United States, have a duty in this matter which I can not shirk. The third article of that treaty explicitly confers upon the United States the right to intervene for the maintenance in Cuba of a government adequate for the protection of life, property, and individual liberty. The treaty conferring this right is the supreme law of the land and furnishes me with the right and the means of fulfilling the obligation that I am under to protect American interests. The information at hand shows that the social bonds throughout the island have been so relaxed that life, property, and individual liberty are no longer safe. I have received authentic information of injury to, and destruction of, American property. It is in my judgment imperative for the sake of Cuba that there shall be an immediate cessation of hostilities and some arrangement which will secure the permanent pacification of the island.
I am sending to Habana the Secretary of War, Mr. Taft, and the Assistant Secretary of State, Mr. Bacon, as the special representatives of this Government, who will render such aid as is possible toward these ends. I had hoped that Mr. Root, the Secretary of State, could have stopped in Habana on his return from South America, but the seeming imminence of the crisis forbids further delay.
Through you I desire in this way to communicate with the Cuban Government and with the Cuban people, and accordingly I am sending you a copy of this letter, to be presented to President Palma, and have also directed its immediate publication.