837.00/2093: Telegram

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

66. Concluded fifth conference with Zayas today. His commitments thus far may be summarized as follows:

He accepts the construction of Treaty of 1904 [1903], announced in your April 21, 1 p.m.

He will recall Menocal’s budget for the year (forwarded with my letter of February 6th23) and will submit to Congress in lieu thereof a budget between 50 and 60 millions; failing to obtain which, he will make every effort to restrict public expenditures for ensuing fiscal year within limits of last-enacted budget, namely 1918–19, about 63 millions.

He will ask Congress to abrogate provisions of law of July 12th, 1921 [1920] (see my letter of February 6th), providing additional compensation to national, provincial, and municipal employees, leaving in force only the provisions of said act for increased rentals and expenses of like character.

He will interpret Cuban Constitution in the sense that the President independently of Congress has no authority to appropriate by decree public funds except in gravest emergency.

He will immediately suppress all botellas and within a period of five months make sweeping reforms in national lottery, particularly in the colecturía system.

He will undertake promptly and will complete within a period of one month a sanitary survey of the Island and of its municipalities, giving special attention to smallpox in Camaguey and Oriente and to water supply of cities; also within a like period of one month will prepare a financial statement of the National Treasury and within two months a financial statement of the municipal treasury of Havana; all such reports and statements to be made available to the United States Government.

All these commitments are made definite by his signed O.K. on the rough draft on this telegram and identical with it except as to verbal and unimportant changes.

Zayas asked me to notify Department of his desire to initiate promptly conferences to obtain amendments in the Treaty of Commerce between the two countries24 with a view to increasing preferential tariff between the United States and Cuba. Will discuss with [Page 693] him next Monday question of constitutional revision and certain desirable amendments in electoral code.

I advise that for the present Zayas’ commitments be respected by the Department as confidential.

It will be of the greatest aid if Department will cable before Tuesday its comments upon proposed Cabinet appointments. See my urgent 65, of yesterday.

  1. Not printed; see telegram no. 39, Feb. 11, to the Minister in Cuba, p. 697.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1903, pp. 375 ff.