The Minister in Cuba ( Long ) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 22.]
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that I reached my post about noon on September 8th, and called on President Menocal the following morning, on which occasion it did not appear to be appropriate to broach the question of General Crowder’s coming here to observe the oral [electoral] procedure.
On Wednesday, September 15th, I had an interview with President Menocal, of which the following is a report:—After exchanging the customary courtesies I explained to the President that my return to Habana somewhat earlier than had been expected grew out of the unrest which appeared to exist in Cuba and the apprehension that the presidential election if carried out as it appeared to have begun might lead to bloodshed. …
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… I told him that my Government feels that it is consistent with its formerly expressed attitude, its responsibilities and duties, to avail itself of impartial information obtained by its own representatives relating to all electoral matters out of which serious trouble might grow, and that we feel we should avail ourselves of those best qualified to perform this service of observation; not with the idea of supervising it, but with the idea of observing the unfolding of the electoral process.
Here President Menocal broke in and said:—” I think it is a good thing that you have come back, as you are probably the best qualified American to perform the service you have just described I replied that I could not agree with him, as there was no comparison, for example, between my experience, so far as electoral procedure was concerned, and that of General Crowder, and that some of the officials of our Government had been wondering whether it would not be an excellent thing all around for General Crowder to be invited to come to Cuba to perform this work of observation, it being felt that the presence of the General would at once tend to [Page 22] have the effect of impressing the Cubans of our earnest desire to be as helpful as possible in the application and interpretation of the electoral law during its first trial. Moreover I added that an invitation to the General from the President of Cuba would silence many of his critics.
President Menocal interrupted me constantly from the time General Crowder’s name was mentioned, and insisted that he was being placed at a great disadvantage on account of the publicity campaign being carried on by the Liberals with the object of showing that he intended to win the election through irregular means. He asserted that this campaign was so constantly waged that there are those who may even believe his motives are improper, …
President Menocal stated that he did not see how General Crowder could be brought here before the elections without adversely affecting the prestige of the Conservatives, and particularly without reflecting upon him personally, as the Liberals had always sworn that they would get General Crowder down here one way or another, and if he actually came they would hail it as an evidence of the fact that they had great influence at Washington. The President stated that he would be delighted to have the General come down as his guest after November 1st, if he wanted to come to Cuba, but that he could not see his way clear to accede to the coming of General Crowder at this time, …
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I have [etc.]