Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Latin American Affairs (Wilson)

At my request the following came individually to see me today:

  • The Minister of Guatemala, Dr. Recinos,
  • The Minister of the Dominican Republic, Mr. Despradel,
  • The Minister of Paraguay, Dr. Bordenave,
  • The Minister of Honduras, Dr. Paz,
  • The Minister of Haiti, M. Bellegarde,
  • The Chargé d’Affaires of Costa Rica, Mr. González,
  • The Chargé d’Affaires of Nicaragua, Dr. Debayle.
  • The Secretary of the Peruvian Embassy, Mr. Mendoza, the Ambassador being absent,
  • The Secretary of the Venezuelan Legation, Mr. Rivero, the Minister being absent,
  • The Secretary of the Panamanian Legation, Mr. Chevalier, the Minister being absent.

I explained to each of the foregoing gentlemen the situation in Cuba. In brief, I spoke of the condition which arose in Cuba a few weeks ago which had made it necessary for us to send some destroyers there. I said that at that time we had taken particular care to make our position clear, to the effect that there was no thought of intervention or interference with Cuban political affairs, but that the ships were sent to Cuba for the purpose of protecting American lives. The situation had cleared up at that time and the ships were withdrawn. Unfortunately, a new situation had now developed in Cuba, which appeared very serious, and we again found it necessary to send ships there for the purpose of protecting Americans if this should be necessary. I said that we attached great importance to the opinion of the Governments and people of the Americas and for this reason was explaining the situation and again desired to make it clear that we were not contemplating intervention or interference in Cuban affairs, but that our most sincere hope was that the Cubans would themselves work out a Cuban solution of their difficulties.

I received a very sympathetic response from all the above-mentioned gentlemen. In particular, the Ministers of Guatemala, Paraguay and Honduras expressed their full appreciation of the attitude of this Government towards Cuba, said that of course the United States had a right to intervene, and that they thought our effort to avoid intervention and to let the Cubans work out their own problems was making a fine impression in Latin America. All of these diplomatic representatives stated that they would inform their Governments at once of the conversation. They all appeared to appreciate being informed.

Edwin C. Wilson