837.00 Revolutions/21

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

Department: Absence from homes on Saturday of opposition leaders and interception of various shipments of arms to western end of island led to discovery of what appears to have been serious conspiracy to overthrow the Government. Military authorities yesterday arrested near Santa Lucia on north coast of Pinar del Rio Province two brothers and a son of ex-President Menocal, ex-Senator Ricardo Dolz, 2 conservative Representatives and 12 others. Ex-President Menocal, Carlos Mendieta, former Mayor Gomez and Mendez Peñate have disappeared. Outbreak was apparently intended to synchronize with arrival in Cuban waters of vessel supposed to be bringing armed expedition from abroad.

In Habana yesterday police besieged with machine guns for more than an hour a house in which considerable stores of arms and ammunition were found after capture. Three persons killed and 20 wounded most of them policemen.

Martial law declared yesterday in Habana and Pinar del Rio Provinces. Government has issued proclamation promising immunity to rebels, leaders excepted, who surrendered within 24 hours. Prisoners mentioned above and many others now confined in military prison. They will be tried by court martial.

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The President, whom I have just seen, claims to have the situation entirely in hand. There are no reports of serious disturbances east of Habana.

Thus far revolutionary effort seems to have been a failure, although activity in Pinar del Rio may have been merely a feint to draw Government forces from real scene of proposed uprising. Opposition leaders were in my opinion prompted to take the field by fear that constitutional reforms which would probably have passed House tomorrow would have served to remove principal causes of political discontent and thus have left them without a following.

  1. Telephoned to the Department by the Counselor of Embassy (Reed) in confirmation of a telephone conversation.