837.00/2011: Telegram

The Representative on Special Mission in Cuba ( Crowder ) to the Secretary of State

32. For the consideration of the Secretary of State: Reference to your number 56, February 22nd, 7 p.m., and my number 31, February 22nd, 6 p.m. There has been a [no?] further reference to withdrawal of candidate[s] and that issue is, for the present at leasts dead.

First meeting of conciliation committees came to naught because of the attempt of the Conservative committee to exact, as a condition precedent to opening up negotiations, that the Liberal Party renounce “all direct or indirect, public or private, effort near the American Government with regard to the electoral problem of Cuba.” The Liberal committee declined to accept this condition and reported the facts to me with the statement that the attempt at conciliation had for this reason alone definitely failed. I sought immediate conference with the President and impressed upon him in the most forceful language I could employ the inadvisability and inopportuneness of raising such an issue at this time; that if restrictions were to be laid upon Cuban citizens respecting the procedure to be followed in presenting for the consideration of the Government of the United States matters affecting the treaty obligations of both countries the Government of the United States would I felt sure expect to be consuited; [Page 679] that events had shown conclusively that the Government of Cuba was not exposed to undue intervention of [in] its electoral administration because of the freedom which citizens of Cuba had thus far enjoyed in presenting facts connected with that administration to public men of the United States; reading to him in this connection the last two sentences of the first paragraph of Department’s number 55, 7 p.m.

President Menocal regards the attempt of the Conservative committee to enforce this condition precedent a mistake and requested from me a statement in writing setting forth my objections thereto to aid him in his effort to influence the Conservative committee to abandon this attitude. I immediately dictated such a letter “copy by mail”13a which he will lay before the Conservative committee today. He hopes that the two conciliation committees will resume at an early date their important task of promoting greater cordiality between parties and of agreeing upon safeguards to surround partial elections.

Arguments closed in the Supreme Court on the last of the contested election cases, those from Oriente yesterday evening. Date of partial elections, now tentatively fixed for March 10th, will have to be postponed unless the Supreme Court decides the pending appeals very promptly. The Court is concentrating upon contested election cases from Matanzas which will be the next to be decided. If the Supreme Court reduces materially the number of colleges of Matanzas which has been nullified by its audiencia as it did in Camaguey, the prospects of the Liberals winning the election will be almost hopeless. In that event certain prominent Liberals, more patriotic than partisan, have expressed to me a view which may gain some publicity in the United States and is therefore referred to here that an effort will probably be made, within the Supreme Court itself, to delay further decisions and thereby prevent elections being held and results promulgated prior to May 20th; in other words if the Liberal Party becomes convinced that Zayas will probably be successful, the Liberal Party working through the Supreme Court in this way will endeavor to force American intervention. I am not ready to share this view but should it be correct then it may well be that the compromise candidate scheme described in 1st paragraph of my number 30, February 16th, 8 p.m. about which Welles14 and I conferred will be again brought forward as only Cuban solution.

Crowder
  1. Not printed.
  2. Sumner Welles, Acting Chief of the Division of Latin American Affairs, Department of State, who had arrived in Cuba on Feb. 23.