Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Between the Secretary of State and the Ambassador in Cuba (Welles) September 5, 1933, 8:10 a.m.

The Ambassador began by stating that during the last two hours there had been a change of a kind in the situation. He stated that a revolutionary government had been set up, composed of the most extreme radicals in Cuba; that all military officers had been removed and a sergeant named Batista had been installed as Chief of Staff; that the city at the present was quiet, but that as to how long it would remain so was very doubtful.

The Ambassador requested that two armed vessels be sent to Habana at once and one to Santiago. In answer to questions he further stated that there was no chance to maintain the old government; that no government was possible without the support of the army. He stated that disorders due to radical activities were more or less prevalent, wherever his limited advices came from, over the island: but that information, however, was more or less sporadic on account of the destruction of communications by the storm.

The Ambassador stated that President de Céspedes and other officials would be in Habana at 11:00 o’clock and that he would keep me advised as to any developments resulting. He stated that it was very important that a battle cruiser be sent to Habana at once; that the small destroyers we were sending would be of some help in the meantime, but not of sufficient use. I inquired whether these destroyers should not stand off just outside the Habana harbor, lest irresponsible individuals might fire on such vessel if close in the harbor. Welles thought it should go on in. I inquired as to the extent of the revolution among the soldiers, and he replied that the chief portion of them were involved and that the army was thus under ultra-radical control, while radical citizens in different parts of the island were precipitating more or less disorder.

I requested the Ambassador to keep in mind the question as to whether it would be advisable for our government to seek the cooperation of the ABC governments of South America and Mexico, in the event conditions became so serious that intervention might be seriously threatened. He promptly stated that he would keep this phase in mind and be ready to discuss it if conditions made it necessary.

C[ordell] H[ull]