Memorandum by the Secretary of State of a Conversation with the Cuban Chargé (Padro), August 21, 1923


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As Dr. [Padro y] Almeida was going he said that statements had appeared in the press, apparently coming from the White House, with respect to the attitude of this Government towards Cuba;18 that these statements were somewhat disquieting and he would like to be able to reassure his Government. The Secretary asked to what statements Dr. Almeida referred. He said they were statements that even seemed to contemplate intervention in Cuba. The Secretary said that he did not know of any statements which went to that extreme; that as he had frequently said this Government desired to promote the stability of Cuba and desired to see its Government secure and its people prosperous. The Secretary felt, however, that as Dr. Almeida had brought the matter up he should not refrain from expressing the great disappointment which he felt at the recent action taken by the Cuban Congress, and that the statements contained in the resolution connected with the passage of the Lottery Bill with respect to the United States Government were of an offensive [Page 848] sort. The Secretary said that, as Dr. Almeida well knew, the efforts of this Government had been directed to help Cuba, not to injure her; that Ambassador Crowder had sought to be of assistance and that it was supposed that his aid had been welcomed. The Secretary recalled that when the last negotiations were on that it had been made quite clear to President Zayas and he fully understood that the moralization program, and the eradication of graft and corruption were efforts to give a sound financial basis, and that this moral security was most important in connection with the making of the loan. The Secretary said that it was highly disappointing that the objectionable lottery measure should have passed, especially with such comments, when the nature of the measure was such as to point plainly to another era of corruption. The Secretary said that if Cuba insisted upon taking a downward path, the United States would not fail to give her caution and advice in her own interest, and if she still persisted, she could not in any way hold the United States responsible for the inevitable disaster that would follow. The Cuban people had great resources and every opportunity, but the Government could not be maintained on a stable basis if it was rife with corruption and he sincerely hoped that President Zayas would use every means in his power to root out all the evil influences which menaced the Government, and that this was the essential condition to the satisfactory establishment of Cuban stability. The Secretary paid that it was hardly necessary for him to refer to the friendship of this Government for Cuba, but that it was not friendly action to see, without appropriate advice, a course taken which could only lead to the most serious results.

  1. A statement issued by the White House on Aug. 17 appeared in the press of Aug. 18.