837.00/1641: Telegram

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

78. Department’s March 25, 6 p.m. … Purport conveyed to President about 6 o’clock same [yesterday] afternoon.

Few hours later I heard that President had signed amendments and ordered same published in Official Gazette at 10 a.m. March 26. Dr. Montoro10 confirmed this statement over phone March 26, 9 p.m. Details went forward in this morning’s pouch in letter to Dr. Rowe.11

At an extended interview just concluded with President Menocal and Dr. Desvernine12 the former explained that he and Zayas had much to do with amendment to electoral law passing Senate, and [Page 7] that when it reached House there was a wild effort to introduce every conceivable form of amendment. Gomez Liberals then took up active opposition. Zayistas renewed fight with energy and things came to a pass where Menocal claims he was compelled to take a hand to eliminate pernicious amendment. The fight had then attained such proportions he claims that action could not have been stemmed, whereupon the amendments passed the House with more than a two-thirds majority.

Friday morning about 14 hours after measure had passed House the Palace was filled with representatives urging the President to sign at once. Their arguments that the amendment had passed by more than two thirds after ample discussion made it impossible for him to decline, so he asserts, except at the price of his prestige, as it was apparent that it could be passed again over his veto. In these circumstances he signed the amendment. He defends his action on the ground that the exigencies of the situation were unusual. Dr. Desvernine supported Menocal saying that it was well known to General Crowder and to the Department of State that he13 was not a politician and incapable of approving of a measure that was not in his opinion a good thing for Cuba, that he would prepare a memorandum which would show that the Cuban interpretation of what had taken place was such that when received by General Crowder he felt the Washington Government would feel that nothing had been done which was not for the best interests of Cuba.

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  1. Secretary to President Menocal.
  2. Not found in Department files.
  3. Pablo Desvernine, Cuban Secretary of State.
  4. Dr. Desvernine.