837.00/1626: Telegram

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

45. Your March 11, 3 p.m.

General Crowder recalls the incidents of the debate in Joint Parliamentary Committee on Article 120 Electoral Code about as follows: The matter was earnestly and seriously discussed by several members. The Committee had before it and the individual members very generally examined a package of the sample ballots employed in the presidential elections of 1912 and 1916. These ballots showed many coalition tickets. In one province alone the official ballot for 1916 showed five tickets with the same presidential electors and no official ballot of any province was free from this kind of coalition. It was alleged by those familiar with the situation that these coalition tickets indicated corrupt political bargaining. It seemed to be the unanimous opinion that coalition as practiced in Cuba was a menace to honest electoral administration. Juan Gualberto Gomez, a Zayista Liberal, speaking to this subject expressed his conclusion with great emphasis as follows “Fusion yes, coalition no.” Article 120 like all other important articles of the new code was adopted finally without an opposing vote. General Crowder does not recall any discussion of a change in this article with any member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee and is clear that he did not commit himself to any change in said article prior to leaving Cuba.

In view of the fact that you submit no evidence of changed conditions which would indicate that the necessity had arisen for such amendment of Article 120 as is referred to in your telegram, the Department deems it important that you impress upon President Menocal that this Government deems it inadvisable to amend the electoral law as proposed and expects therefore that no such amendment will be passed.