837.00/1548: Telegram

The Minister in Cuba (Gonzales) to the Acting Secretary of State

For Mr. Polk. Following sent after conference with General Crowder.

As reported by General Crowder in letter of May 8th which should reach you Monday morning the joint parliamentary committee [Page 25] of eight members in conference with General Crowder has under consideration a provision of electoral law denying a place on the official ballot in 1920 Cuban elections to any ticket which is not nominated in that calendar year and by conventions newly constituted in their entirety during that year and for that special purpose. Discussion thus far indicates this provision will receive at least six votes in the joint committee and vote may be unanimous. This provision has been favorably discussed in Cuban press and is supported by President Menocal.

Notwithstanding this the National’ Liberal Convention whose membership has not been renewed since 1912 and then only partially renewed, met yesterday under call issued early part of April by Doctor Zayas president of the party and which he subsequently attempted to recall declaring convention would be illegal. The Zayas delegates with exception of three refrained from attending, there being a majority of one of provincial delegates and 9 out of 60 alternates present. By vote of 83 to 5 convention nominated Jose Miguel Gomez for President and Zayas for Vice President. There are strong indications Zayas will decline but his future course whether one of fusion with Conservatives or separate candidacy after nomination by what he will call regular Liberal Convention is uncertain.

It is reasonably assured that the Conservative Party whose convention is called for May 23rd will nominate on that date General Rafael Montalvo. While leaders of this party give much publicity to statement that convention has been totally renewed during April I am convinced this renewal was in name only and that membership of the national convention has not been materially altered. …

In view of the obvious advantages of postponing nominations until 1920 thus shortening the electoral period and reducing economic disturbances incident thereto and also to strengthen the position of General Crowder with the Cuban Congress I earnestly recommend, with the full concurrence of General Crowder, that he be instructed to insist strongly on the enactment of a law which will invalidate all nominations made in this calendar year and give recognition only to nominations made in the calendar year in which the election is to be held and then only when it has been shown that such nominations have been made by conventions newly constituted in the entirety within that year for that special purpose.

The joint committee meets again with General Crowder Monday night May 12th for considering this important law and it is important to have immediate reply.