The Chargé in Cuba (Reed) to the Secretary of State

No. 1391

Sir: I have the honor to report that I can discern little, if any, relaxation of the tension that has prevailed here since the assassination of Clemente Vásquez Bello and the subsequent murders of four members of the opposition on September 27.

The feeling of personal insecurity exists not only among adversaries of the Government; it extends as well to high officials of the administration. Should any of the latter meet a fate similar to that of the late president of the Senate, it is the common belief that there [Page 559] will be further reprisals on an even larger scale against the lives of such opposition leaders or their sympathizers as are still at large.

That the situation of the Embassy in the present circumstances is one of extreme delicacy will, I am sure, be appreciated by the Department. I have received innumerable requests from anxious relatives and friends to intervene for the protection of persons who are in hiding and whose lives are believed to be in jeopardy. In one or two cases that appeared to be exceptionally meritorious I undertook to make personal and unofficial inquiries of the Secretary of State, but I was unable to obtain any assurances that could be regarded as satisfactory by the parties interested. I have also been asked in several instances to shelter persons in my home or in the chancery. I have consistently refused to grant such requests.

The Foreign Office announced yesterday that in so far as it was informed diplomatic asylum had been granted by the following missions:

  • Spanish Embassy: Gabriel and Marío Menocal y Moreno
  • Mexican Embassy: Ricardo Dolz and Eliceo Arguelles, Sr.
  • Uruguayan Legation: Carlos Manuel de la Cruz and Pedro Cué y Abreu
  • Colombian Legation: Eliseo Arguelles, Jr., and Julio Rabell

Of the eight persons listed only one, de la Cruz, has been permitted to leave the country. I was told yesterday in confidence by Dr. Ferrara that the President was very much annoyed at the freedom with which certain missions had extended their hospitality and that he did not intend to permit any of the refugees to leave the country for the time being. The President, he said, felt that in the majority of cases the refugees had been actuated by a desire to embarrass the Government through unfavorable publicity abroad rather than by motives of personal fear. Judging from the degree of anxiety displayed by the many persons who have sought my assistance, I cannot, however, concur in that opinion.

Respectfully yours,

Edward L. Reed