837.00/3649: Telegram

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

156. Doctor Céspedes, after the passage by the Congress last night of the necessary legislation in accordance with the existing constitution, this morning formally took the oath of office as President ad interim before the Supreme Court of the Republic. His Cabinet as yet but partially decided upon will contain the following:

Secretary of the Treasury, Senator Daniel Compte, Conservative, who has the reputation of having an excellent practical knowledge of governmental finance;

Secretary of War and Marine, Captain Demetrio Castillo Pokorny, non-partisan. Captain Castillo is a graduate of West Point, was at one time General Crowder’s aide, is half-American, was Secretary of Public Works in the “Honest Cabinet” of the Zayas Government and merits the entire confidence of Doctor Céspedes;

Secretary of Sanitation, Doctor Presno, one of the outstanding people of the country and a professor of the university;

Secretary of Public Instruction, Doctor Dihigo, likewise an outstanding professor of the university.

Doctor Torriente was urged to accept any Cabinet post he desired but refused on the ground that his prominence in the mediation activities made it undesirable for him to accept public office at this time. Doctor Martínez Saenz of the A.B.C. has been invited to accept the Secretaryship of Justice but has not as yet reached a decision. The other posts will be filled before tomorrow morning.

The situation in the cities is in general much more satisfactory. Martial law has been declared effective throughout the Republic and the military have taken a very determined attitude which has had a salutary effect. The crowds are still hunting down the hated members of Machado’s secret police.

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Most of the members of the Machado Government have left the country by airplane but General Herrera, who came to the conclusion yesterday that, while the Army had formally accepted him as Secretary of War, public opinion would not tolerate him in that capacity and consequently handed in his resignation to Doctor Céspedes, is still here hidden with his family on the top floor of the National Hotel. I have taken every possible precaution to insure his safety and I have requested guarantees of the Government for him and for those members of the Senate and of the House who are the most unpopular. General Herrera expects to sail on the Santa Ana tomorrow night for New York with his family and I shall go with him personally to the steamer.

The telegraph operators voted last night to go back immediately to work and the newspapers were published this morning for the first time in a week. Doctor Céspedes will see representatives of the other striking unions during the course of the day and urge them as a patriotic gesture to return to work tomorrow morning.

In view of the fact that the Government now established is unquestionably constitutional in its formation and that the Cabinet is of a high class representative character, and since the situation demands that the Government receive our official support immediately, I beg to request that I be authorized at once to state that the Embassy has established official relations with it.