Memorandum by the Secretary of State
The French Ambassador51 called on my invitation and I proceeded to show him the copy of telegram, attached hereto,52 from Ambassador Welles at Habana. I then explained in much detail the extremely delicate and hair-trigger conditions existing in Cuba at this time and said that nothing would be much easier than to arouse the populace [Page 433] and bring about unfortunate confusion that might result in consequences that could not be foreseen. I pointed out just how our government is resorting to every possible method to preserve the goodwill of the Cuban people in their present confused and inflamed state of mind, and to encourage them in every possible way to establish a stable government at once that can maintain law and order. I then stated that this did not present a question of Cuban nationals or their property being in danger of serious injury and that if such question should later arise we could then discuss all of its phases. I told the Ambassador that this was merely a request that the French Government consider the danger of starting serious complications by having this vessel enter the harbor at Habana at this time. He agreed that he would at once communicate all the facts as to how our government is undertaking to encourage peace, law and order in Cuba and the speedy setting up of a stable government; that he would emphasize the efforts of our government to safeguard human lives throughout the island; and also emphasize the question of whether the French Government could not consistently direct this vessel to remain out of Cuban ports at present. The Ambassador remarked that he thought it was merely on a general cruise from northeast Atlantic ports to the Antilles.