The Chargé in Cuba (Bingham) to the Acting Secretary of State

No. 912

Sir: Adverting to the Department’s confidential telegram January 15, 6 p.m., regarding the Reformation of the Present Cuban Election Laws, I have the honor to enclose herewith copy of the Legation’s Note No. 763 of January 17, in the premises.

The Department’s attention is invited to the fact that this note was addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, with the request that it be presented to President Menocal, as it seemed desirable not to neglect any means which would serve to make this a matter of record.

Upon reading the note, Mr. Desvernine agreed frankly that the Cuban Electoral Laws needed improvement and said that the President had twice sent messages to Congress in this sense, which had so far not been acted upon; he said that he hoped that the interest the United States was showing in the matter would have a good effect upon the Legislative Body.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs then went on to say, that he was certain that President Menocal would not agree to having the United States send a commission to Cuba to aid in the supervision of the elections, as this would wound Cuban pride, and that some means could surely be found to accomplish the desired end without such humiliation.

I have [etc.]

Rutherfurd Bingham

The American Chargé (Bingham) to the Cuban Secretary of State (Desvernine)

No. 763

Excellency: I have the honor to convey to Your Excellency, with the request that it be transmitted to His Excellency the President, the fact that in the opinion of the Government of the United States it is of the utmost importance that the Government of Cuba should proceed forthwith to take active steps for the reformation of the present Electoral Laws, and that, as a necessary preliminary, an adequate census should be taken in the near future, in order that the [Page 3] register of voters may be corrected in time for the next Presidential Election. The United States Government desires to impress upon His Excellency the President the great importance of giving immediate assurances to the public that the next Presidential elections will be conducted in a free and fair manner.

In view of the close relations existing between the United States and Cuba, my Government instructs me further to say that it would be greatly pleased to receive from President Menocal a request to have the United States send a commission to Cuba to aid in the supervision of the elections, and I am further instructed to request a promise from the President that he will make a public statement as soon as possible along the lines indicated.

I avail myself [etc.]

Rutherfurd Bingham