837.00/2026: Telegram

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

37. Returned this morning from inspection of three pivotal Provinces, Matanzas, Santa Clara and Camaguey, establishing American observation in the latter. Found conditions generally satisfactory. [Page 681] Army everywhere neutral and local party leaders convinced that it would be useless to repeat practices in the forthcoming elections which the Supreme Court has so unsparingly condemned in the elections of November 1st. Large number of very competent inspectors, many of them magistrates and secretaries of courts, already on the ground and at work. Am satisfied that there will be no organized intimidation or violence and that no political party need refrain from participating in elections next Tuesday15 on such grounds.

At Colon visited scene of disturbance which occurred shortly before my arrival and left there Mr. Shackleford, experienced American observer in November 1st elections, to investigate. He has already rendered preliminary report stating disturbance had its origin without the Liberal Party but was carefully staged so as to appear to have originated with Government, and was intended, he thinks, to demonstrate lack of adequate safeguard for the forthcoming partial elections, justifying withdrawal of Liberal Party from any participation therein. While at Cruces I investigated disturbances there of last Saturday and Monday and sent Mr. Shackleford to complete investigation. My preliminary inquiry indicates same origin and same motive as at Colon. Contact with the Liberal leaders during my inspection trip shows conclusively that nothing would have satisfied Liberal Party except exclusive American supervision and control of both electoral machinery and armed forces as conditions precedent to participating in the partial elections.

Yesterday General Gómez published a letter addressed to the executive committee of the Liberal Party under date of March 10th containing a lengthy recital of party grievances since last August and affirming that his reliance on the assurances of the Government of Cuba and representations of the Government of the United States with respect to safeguards against external violence and coercing has been in vain, and that he can no longer hold himself responsible for the bloody consequences to Liberal voters which he states will ensue from any attempt of the Liberal Party to go to the polls on March 15, under the conditions which he declares to exist, citing in substantiation thereof recent disturbances at Cruces and Colon above referred to, accompanied by a mass of generalities.

As a result of this pronouncement by General Gómez, the executive committee of the Liberal Party unanimously adopted on the night of March 10th resolutions published at the same time as aforesaid letter declaring that Liberal Party will withdraw from public affairs until there exist normal conditions in the Republic and full guarantees. That Liberals will not go to the polls at the forthcoming elections [Page 682] was also then and there resolved by that body. Press statement not yet verified to the effect that Liberal and Democratic members of the Central Electoral Board have withdrawn from that body, latter under condition[s] set forth in preceding paragraph. Zayas should be easily successful next Tuesday. …

  1. March 15.