837.00/3895: Telegram

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

263. A further move is under way for conversations between the leaders of the Unión Nacionalista, the ABC, Menocalistas, OCRR and representatives of the Grau San Martín regime with a view to attempting to achieve a peaceful compromise for the installation of a concentration Cabinet. A meeting is to be held tonight at 6 o’clock to discuss the bases for such agreement. The morale of the student group seems to be breaking down. The widespread labor disorders throughout the Republic, the attempt at revolt in the Province of Piñar del Río last night, the fact that even in Habana strikers are breaking into shops and that disorder is on the increase and finally the fact that the Army is almost hourly becoming more unmanageable has brought them to the realization that they need help and that they need it quickly. Two delegates of the Unión Revolucionaria, a relatively small group which is the only one of the groups represented in the mediation proceedings that accepted office from the present government have just called at the Embassy to inform me that they foresaw a breakdown of all government quickly unless a solution is found. This feeling is shared, of course, by every other group of political importance. I spent all of yesterday, as well as all of today, urging upon the political parties opposed to the present regime the necessity of making every possible effort to reach a peaceful compromise and I think my efforts have been successful in so far as the leaders have now consented to a further meeting with Grau San Martín and representatives of the student body.

As the result of an indication on the part of students acting under the orders of the Directorio Estudiantil, I requested Adolf Berle57 late last night to have a conversation with some of the principal members of the Directorio. In a long conversation he pointed out that the criticism of the policy of the United States, which they had been so loudly proclaiming during the past week, was quite unjustified and that the charges they had concocted regarding the policy of the Embassy were utterly baseless. I was told by one of the students present that Berle’s conversation with them had an exceedingly salutary effect. This morning a representative of the Directorio came to see me to ask if I would be willing to meet with the Directorio tonight. I said that [Page 439] I would be very happy to do so and that I had repeatedly indicated to the students, all of the leaders of whom were either in exile or in prison during the course of the mediation negotiations, through certain professors of the university identified with the student movement that I would welcome an opportunity to talk matters over with them but that in view of their lack of response I had not felt warranted in pressing the matter any further. I expect to hold my meeting with them tonight at the House of Señor Chibas, who was Secretary of Public Works in the Céspedes Cabinet and is the father of one of the most extreme radical members of the student group, the author of the cable sent to Latin America accusing me of complicity in the officers’ plot.

  1. On August 31, 1933, A. A. Berle, Jr., special counsel for the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, John G. Laylin, special assistant to the Under Secretary of the Treasury, and James H. Edwards were requested to proceed at once to Habana in order to make certain studies in connection with Cuban economic and financial matters and to report to Ambassador Welles upon arrival.