The Ambassador in Cuba (Guggenheim) to the Secretary of State

No. 662

Sir: I have the honor to report that direct negotiations between the opposition and the President towards solution of the country’s political problems have been held in abeyance, due to the President’s absence from Habana for about ten days until last evening, as reported in my telegram No. 73, April 15, 2 P.M.20

In the meanwhile I have had numerous conferences with leaders of both the Government and the opposition, who are in a position either to aid or hinder an agreement. For your information, I enclose copy of memoranda dictated after these conferences, which complete the record in your possession of these conferences since the memoranda forwarded as enclosure No. 1 to despatch No. 638 of April 8, 1931.20

Respectfully yours,

Harry F. Guggenheim

Memorandum by the Ambassador in Cuba (Guggenheim)

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On April 9th, I lunched with President Machado at his finca and discussed with him the conferences that have been taking place in the past days regarding which I had sent him information through Doctor Fernández. After a great deal of discussion and repetition of the arguments that have been so frequently presented, the President reiterated his general approval and his readiness to acquiesce in the features of the plan including the date of presidential reelection, constitutional reforms and the Coalition Cabinet. In regard to the dates of Congressmen and Senators, he said that he was not in any position to go beyond the original Cortina plan for a reduction of two years for Senators and three years for Congressmen. Unfortunately, Cortina had not seen the President before my visit. Whether the President was merely trying to protect himself, or whether he was waiting for me to demand a further reduction in the terms of Congressmen and Senators, I do not know. I, of course, did not make any such demand. I used every argument at my command, however, to point out that, in the interests of Cuba and in his own personal interest and that of the Congressmen and Senators involved, a compromise should be found. The last word of the President was that he would send for [Page 56] Cortina and get him to work with Congressmen and Senators in order that a satisfactory compromise might be achieved.

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