Memorandum of Telephone Conversations Between the Secretary of State and the Ambassador in Cuba (Welles) on September 5, 1933, 5:30 p.m., and Between the Assistant Secretary of State (Caffery) and the Ambassador in Cuba (Welles), 6:15 p.m.

Secretary: How are things coming along by this time?

Ambassador: I think that the situation is gradually getting worse. I have had a conference with the political leaders of the Republic and they are of the opinion that it would be wise to land a certain number of troops from the American ship. It would be my idea that what we would do in that case would be to have a certain number come to the Embassy as a guard and a certain number to the National Hotel. It would not imply any patrolling of streets or anything of that kind. The difficulty is that we have only 50 men on the McFarland, which is now in port, to be brought ashore. That number is not sufficient to make it wise to bring them ashore. Is the Richmond arriving tomorrow?

Secretary: I do not think it can get there before tomorrow morning. That is, the Richmond from the Canal Zone. There is no other battleship on the way just yet. We can take this matter up and have a conference about it. How would we define our policy that would contemplate what you suggest?

Ambassador: Our policy would simply be on the ground of protection of the American Embassy and the protection of American nationals.

Secretary: Have you any other suggestions?

Ambassador: The political leaders say that a government will be restored with the support of all the army officers, but this can only be accomplished with the aid of an American guard and the present small number of our men offshore is insufficient.

Conversation resumed at 6:15 o’clock between Mr. Caffery and the Ambassador:

Ambassador: I think that it is absolutely indispensable that men be brought from the ship to the Embassy and to the hotel. A crowd is gathering in front of the Embassy now and there is no protection whatever except a few policemen we have in the Embassy building. I am not at all certain what will happen before very long if we do not have any men here.

Mr. Caffery: You have no guard there?

Ambassador: No guard anywhere. There is absolutely no semblance of order of any kind. I could not hear whether the Secretary said the Richmond is arriving tomorrow.

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Mr. Caffery: No, the Richmond is not due to arrive until Thursday—I think in the early afternoon.

Ambassador: What time does the Bainbridge get here? Tomorrow, in the early afternoon?

Mr. Caffery: Not early—I think, late afternoon. Now the Mississippi is on the way. She is 32,000 tons.

Ambassador: The situation is increasingly serious here. What time will the Mississippi get here?

Mr. Caffery: She cannot make it under three days. She is at Hampton Roads.

Ambassador: I have just had another meeting with the political leaders and they seem to be all of the opinion that the only possible way is for a temporary landing of possibly a thousand men until a new government can be restored with the cooperation of all them—with all of the officers who are loyal to constitutional government and who have not gone over to the other side.

Mr. Caffery: It is better to cable the whole thing. We miss words.

Ambassador: All right. This evening I think we will have some men come from the McFarland to the Embassy and the hotel.

Mr. Caffery: Have you seen anything more of the soldiers? Or the radical element who were allied with them?

Ambassador: There is absolutely no evidence of any intention to maintain order. The soldiers are going anywhere that they want and pay no attention whatever to anyone’s objections.

Mr. Caffery: But you have not seen them any more yourself.

Ambassador: No, not since the revolutionary group took over control of the Palace.

Mr. Caffery: Only two of them came to see you this morning.

Ambassador: Those two are supposed to be the head people, but I have heard nothing from them since. I will cable fully.

Mr. Caffery: The Secretary, who is here now, asks if you know whether they have any intention of trying to see you again.

Ambassador: I am unable to hear what you say.

(Note:—The last paragraph was repeated several times, but the Ambassador was unable to understand what was said.)