837.00 Revolutions/274: Telegram

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

55. Mr. F. Adair Monroe, Junior, President of the Cuba Company, accompanied by Mr. Schreiber, Manager of the Sugar Central owned by that company at Jatibonico, called on me May 19. They reported that three of their guards who had been in their employ for some 8 years and who served likewise as deputy police under the control of the local police authorities had been seized by a detachment of the Guardia Rural under the personal command of Major Arsenio Ortiz on May 16th merely on suspicion of having aided revolutionary activities and had been summarily shot without due investigation and without any trial.

The Cuba Company has been on particularly friendly terms with the Machado administration and there is consequently no reason to believe that the report made to me has been colored by any opposition on the part of the company’s officials to the Cuban Government.

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I took up the matter immediately with the Secretary of State. I impressed upon him in the most serious manner that if atrocities of this kind continued, not only would any policy of conciliation in Cuba be utterly impossible but I was very certain as well that public opinion in the United States would not tolerate such a situation any more than it had been willing to countenance a similar situation in the years preceding the Spanish-American War. I stated that this particular occurrence was aggravated by the fact that the individuals murdered were the employees of an American company.

Dr. Ferrara told me that he not only understood my viewpoint but was in absolute accord with me. He said that the only reason that Ortiz had been sent to Santa Clara Province was because of the President’s fear that one or two of the chief Cuban officers in command in that region were not loyal to the Cuban Government. He told me that he would urge the President immediately to have a full investigation made and in any event recall Major Ortiz without further delay.

Dr. Ferrara called to see me May 20th. He told me the President had ordered Colonel Delgado to proceed immediately to Santa Clara to make a full investigation and that due punishment would be given to Ortiz or to any other officers responsible for the atrocity should the facts be determined to be as reported to me. He further told me that the President would recall Major Ortiz to Habana not later than May 23.

I shall report by telegraph the result of the official investigation as well as the action which the President may take.