837.00/2085a: Telegram

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


98. For General Crowder:

Yesterday I received General Gómez, who was accompanied by his interpreter. General Gómez reviewed the political history of Cuba from the Revolution of 1917, referring particularly to the fraud, violence, and intimidation which took place in the presidential elections of last November, and to the confirmation given by the Supreme Court to the complaints of the Liberal Party that these illegal acts had taken place by annulling the elections held in 189 colleges. He went on to relate, somewhat inaccurately, the events that have taken place since your arrival in Cuba. He insisted that the Liberals had abstained from voting in the elections of March 15 and 26 because the leaders of the party believed that proper guarantees were not forthcoming and were not willing to hold themselves responsible for the deeds of violence which they were sure would be committed. He emphasized most the point that you had been unwilling to recommend to the Cuban Government that the partial elections of March 15 should be postponed, basing your refusal on the ground that such a postponement of the partial elections would render impossible the assembly of Congress on April 4, the day set by the Constitution. He then called my attention to the fact that only a very few voters went to the polls in the partial elections as compared with those who voted in the same districts last November, and claimed that all those who refrained from voting in the last elections were Liberals, and that the Liberal Party would have been victorious by an overwhelming majority in the partial elections if it had gone to the polls as a whole. Therefore, the result of the elections, he stated, did not [Page 689] represent the will of a majority of the Cuban people, and referring to the assurances given by this Government in a statement issued by the American Legation August 30, 1920,20 he said that in order that justice might be done, the Liberal Party appealed to this Government.

I replied that this Government could receive only with the utmost consideration an appeal made in this spirit, particularly by so distinguished a Cuban as General Gómez, and that the Government of the United States would of course listen attentively to any such petition because of the special interest this Government feels in all that pertains to Cuba. I told him, however, that it is in the orderly development of constitutional government in Cuba that the primary interest of this Government lies; that this Government is unable to comprehend why the Liberal Party had been unwilling to trust the courts in regard to the partial elections held in March when it had been willing to take its appeals to them from the November elections; that the Government of the United States was satisfied that under your supervision proper guarantees had been provided for the holding of these elections; and that there could be no doubt from the official returns received that Dr. Zayas had been legally elected and should be proclaimed President of Cuba in the manner provided for in the Electoral Code and in the Constitution.

I said in conclusion that this Government would view with regret and apprehension any attempt on the part of the Liberal party to prevent the proclamation of Dr. Zayas, calling General Gómez’s attention to the fact that the Liberal minority in the Cuban Congress was now attempting to prevent the formation of the quorum necessary to proclaim the successful candidate President of Cuba. Before he left General Gómez gave me to understand that the Liberal Party would accept this determination as final, inasmuch as they were forced to submit to whatever decision this Government might reach.

  1. See telegram no. 167, Aug. 25, 1920, to the Chargé in Cuba, Foreign Relations, 1920, vol. ii, p. 17.