File No. 837.00/1059
The Secretary of State to Minister Gonzales
Washington, February 10, 1917—7 p.m.
Department’s January 26, 4 p.m. Your February 1, midnight. You are instructed to hand the following statement to President Menocal and say that you have been directed to request that he make it public: [Page 352]
The Government of the United States, in view of its relations with the Republic of Cuba, and on account of the duties which are imposed upon it by the agreement between the two countries, is regarding with no small concern the question of the new elections in Santa Clara Province, which it is understood is an effort to carry out the laws providing the machinery for settling election disputes, and upon which laws the constitutional government must depend. In this case it is understood that the law provides that election disputes be settled by a central committee with an appeal to the Supreme Court of Cuba and ultimately should the dispute remain unsettled, by a reelection to be held in the districts in dispute.
The Government of the United States is confident that both parties are endeavoring to do their utmost to settle their difficulties through the agencies provided by law and without having recourse to methods which would cause a disturbance throughout the Republic and it would view with gratification the invoking of the constituted judicial methods by the people of Cuba, particularly at the present time when the great portion of the world is embroiled in armed conflict. Such a settlement of their disputes would undoubtedly stand as a fine example before the world as a case where misunderstandings were being adjusted by law instead of by arms.
The Government of the United States as a friend of the Republic of Cuba, desires to point out that election controversies have not been unknown within its territory, in which party feeling ran at the highest pitch and wishes to recall to mind that these disputes have always been settled by legal and peaceful means. The most notable case which has occurred in the United States was the Hayes-Tilden controversy in which the legally established elective machinery finally decided in favor of the candidate who had the minority of the popular vote. This controversy clearly proved that patriotism was elevated by a resort to law rather than by faith in arms.
The Government of the United States better than any other nation knows the patriotism of the Cuban people and mindful of the patriotic deeds done by the Cuban heroes in their struggles for liberty, is confident that the same patriotic spirit will prevail in the settlement of the present electoral difficulty and that it will be shown by implicit faith in the legal means which have been established for the settlement of such questions.
In view of the interest which this Government feels for the future of Cuba as a nation highly advanced in patriotism and social development, it is anxious that all the parties should know that their course is being followed by the United States with the closest observance and in the confident expectation that the means provided for by the Cuban Constitution and the laws enacted for this very purpose will bring as a logical result a satisfactory and peaceable settlement of the present difficulties.
You are instructed to inform President Menocal that this Government is confident that he will use every means in his power to prevent any disturbance of the present peaceful conditions in Cuba. That this Government is observing with the closest scrutiny every act of each of the parties which might indicate intimidating action by armed forces or illegal pressure exerted by the military or the police at the time of elections.