The Minister in Cuba (Long) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 14—3:41 p.m.]
43. It is persistently reported that the Conservatives plan soon to introduce in the Cuban Congress a bill covering two amendments to new electoral law, first, to make it possible for one candidate to figure in two parties and, second, to limit the distinguished powers of the Central Electoral Board. As soon as available, text will be transmitted if important. Rumor has it that Conservatives have consulted Washington and that Crowder is agreeable. This is, I take it, merely the usual type of rumor calculated to create unrest in opposing political organizations.
It is currently stated that as Zayas failed to win out with the Liberals he sought and has pending an arrangement [for] an alliance with Conservatives and that Zayas will be candidate for President or Vice-President on Conservative ticket.
Radical Liberals say that if this is done Nunez now Vice President under Menocal will be run on Liberal ticket but the Civil Governor of Habana, Doctor Barreras, a Liberal, states real Liberals wish to see Crowder law applied its entirety and the Liberal members will retire from any session of Congress that votes to amend it before the law has been given a fair trial.
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Should the Conservative party really make the effort to amend the new electoral law it might give the Department an opportunity to suggest to President Menocal reasonableness of inviting General [Page 2] Crowder here to confer with both parties regarding proposed amendments; such suggestion if made at all should now be made quickly so that invitation might be given Crowder before bill introduced by Conservatives and its discussion becomes a burning issue. Once here Crowder might remain until after elections. Present indications are that his presence would be satisfying to Liberals who now more than before say they will not go to elections without supervision.
It is thought that Menocal would not be averse to having Stephenson1 remain or even to have General Crowder come provided it could be accomplished without reflecting upon his administration. Advance publication by Liberals here of Department’s supposed intention, see despatch number 1103, November 7, 1919,2 rendered it impossible for Menocal to invite Crowder here then.