837.00/3526: Telegram

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

61. Yesterday I had my second long conference with Dr. Cosme de la Torriente, former Ambassador in Washington, former President of the Assembly of the League of Nations and prominent member of the group of leaders opposing the Machado administration.

I discussed in general terms with Dr. de la Torriente the possibility of a solution of the Cuban political problem. I told him that in my judgment any solution must be based upon the preservation of the structure of constitutional government and upon the utilization of the existing Congress as the means of carrying out such reforms as might be agreed upon in a conciliation program. I told him that I was positively opposed to the proposal publicly announced by the members of the revolutionary junta in New York providing for the installation of a provisional and unconstitutional government in Cuba.

I found Dr. de la Torriente in entire accord with the point of view above-expressed. He declared himself as positively opposed to revolution, equally opposed to American intervention and strongly desirous of American mediation to accomplish the ends set forth in my telegram number 43 of May 13.

He showed me letters he had received yesterday from Mendieta and Mendez Periate (the former, the most influential leader in the New York junta) stating that they would join with him in supporting a program of solution, fair both to the existing Government and to persevering opposition factions. He likewise assured me that the same support would be given him by Miguel Marí to dispose Gómez and by Carlos Hevía who are likewise members of the New York junta. Dr. de la Torriente further asserted within the past 2 days since the time of my first interview with him he had received assurances from the leaders of the two dissident factions of the Conservative Party that they would support a peaceful adjustment of the present difficulties through the unofficial mediation of the United States Government. I was likewise assured that the members of the Popular Party, the least important of the three Cuban parties, would coincide in any arrangements of the type proposed.

This tentative understanding does not as yet include agreement on the part of General Menocal nor of his followers now refugees in Florida. I have hopes of obtaining their assent to a program of conciliation through Mendez Capote who is now with General Menocal in Florida.

The attitude of the opposition leaders with few exceptions appears to be far more reasonable than the attitude they announced publicly [Page 296] in New York some weeks ago. I shall continue to discuss bases of adjustment with Dr. de la Torriente until all essential details are agreed upon in principle and until the latter has received the written assent of the leaders mentioned to these bases. I shall then initiate discussions of these bases with the President.

It is obvious to my mind that no accommodations or concessions, financial or economic, should be made to the Cuban Government until a positive understanding is had as to the course the President will be willing to pursue with regard to the solution above proposed.

I beg to request that this telegram be sent to the President for his information.