837.00/3756: Telegram

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

199. At 5 o’clock my meeting with the political leaders, referred to in my telegram 195, took place at the Embassy. It was attended by all those present in the morning with the exception of General Menocal who sent word that he had no concrete solution to propose as yet. The opinion expressed by all was that the only possibility of avoiding American intervention was for the installation of a government composed of the chiefs of all of the political groups. Before Colonel [Page 388] Mendieta’s arrival the other leaders stated that Colonel Mendieta was by far the most acceptable man as head of the new government. Investigation had proved that the officers of the Army had refused to enter into any conversations with the present revolutionary group in control but would support any representative government such as that proposed.

It was the unanimous opinion that the enlisted men in great part would be loyal to their officers if they could be free from the control of the non-commissioned officers. It was the unanimous opinion likewise that the only way in which a government of the character proposed could be maintained in power, until a new Army could be organized under the Cuban Army officers, was for the maintenance of order in Habana and Santiago de Cuba and perhaps one or two other points in the island by American Marines. They were emphatic in their declaration that the present revolutionary group could not remain in control for more than a few days and would be then in turn forced to give way to an out and out Communist organization.

The tentative project as outlined to me is not as yet entirely satisfactory, as many important details have not been determined upon. I shall be advised later tonight what the final decision may be.

Conversations have likewise been held this evening between the leaders of the Unión Nacionalista Party, Doctor Gómez and the two more Conservative members of the revolutionary group in control of the government, namely, Messrs. Grau San Martín and Franca, to ascertain whether the latter would agree to enter the government of concentration proposed. The tentative proposal appears to have been rejected.

Doctor Grau San Martín has just called to see me and I hare impressed upon him the fact that my Government would require of any government in Cuba the protection of life and property of American citizens. He is utterly impractical and appears to be obsessed with the idea that the soldiers are so devoted to the ideals of the “revolution”, as he terms the mutiny, that they will take it upon themselves without any orders to maintain order and to guarantee life and property. He did say, however, that an attempt would be made to persuade the lower-ranking officers of the Army to support the group in control of the government and in that event they would be reinstated in their former positions.