The Minister in Cuba ( Long ) to the Secretary of State

No. 64

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith, as stated in my telegram of April 1, 3 p.m.,17 a copy of supplementary memorandum by Dr. Desvernine expressing his views on the amendments of the electoral law, other than article No. 120 thereof.

I have [etc.]

Boaz W. Long

Memorandum by the Cuban Secretary of State (Desvernine) Regarding the Amendment of the Electoral Law

In my previous memorandum18 I almost exclusively considered the Amendment to Article One Hundred Twenty of the Electoral Law on the subject of coalitions, because this article has been the main subject of discussion in Congress and in the public press and as to the other amendments to the Law, I only made a cursory mention [Page 11] of them to the effect that they did not substantially affect in the least any of the provisions of the articles to which they refer.

It may be added now in regard to those other amendments that they had not been the subject of any objections either in Congress or in the leading newspapers of Havana, as I am reliably informed by persons who have followed through Congress and public opinion the whole process of this matter and are, accordingly, well posted on all its aspects.

Nobody has indeed impeached any of these articles in Congress and I am assured by absolutely reliable persons that no debate was held either in the Senate or in the House on the changes to the Law brought about by these other articles, which plainly shows that they do not affect any one of the substantial principles of the Law drafted by General Crowder.

A slight consideration of the amendments will show this at once. Article Third, for instance, amends Article Two Hundred and Forty Eight by simply inserting in it a provision allowing an appeal from the decisions of the “Central Electoral Board” which appeal must be filed by at least five electors, as a means of protection against possible errors of that Board.

As can be easily seen, this amendment allowing an appeal cannot be of a nature not only to conflict, but even to affect, in the least, any of the principles on which General Crowder’s Law does really rest and, accordingly, nobody could have apprehended that such a modification could be looked upon as a small piece of legislation against the spirit and purpose of the Electoral Law.

Article Fourth, amending Article Two Hundred and Eighty Four, is equally consistent with the provisions of the article to which it refers, for the amendment only provides that besides the ex-officio members provided for in that article for the Executive Committee, there should be added those who may also be ex-offlcio members of their respective Assemblies, but without the right to vote.

The Executive Committee is, therefore, left in all its original integrity, as provided for in General Crowder’s Law, since the addition of five ex-offlcio members more, but without granting them the right to vote, cannot have another import than that of a nature of supervision and of more publicity in regard to the Executive Committee.

The modification introduced by Article Six of the Amendment Law has had as its sole aim to facilitate the prevention and remedy of such frauds as may be discovered and it only provides the procedure which a voter must follow in case he may wish to withdraw from one political party and become a member of another political party.

[Page 12]

And these are the only amendments contained in the Law dated the twenty sixth of March of the year nineteen hundred and twenty in regard to which no doubt could have been entertained as to the powers of Congress to act regarding the matter which is one entirely and purely of current and normal legislation.

  1. Not printed.
  2. See telegram no. 81, Mar. 28, from the Minister in Cuba, p. 7.