611.37/3–2452

Memorandum by the Secretary of State to the President 1

secret

Subject:

  • Continuation of Diplomatic Relations with Cuba

In this memorandum I recommend for your consideration the continuation of diplomatic relations with the Batista Government in Cuba. If you approve the recommendation, I suggest that you authorize me to make the announcement on Thursday, March 27.

As you know, on the early morning of Monday, March 10, General Fulgencio Batista with the support of a group of officers of the Cuban Army overthrew the duly constituted Government of President Carlos Prío Soccarás. Batista’s revolution came as a complete surprise both in Cuba and in this country and his revolution was carried out with remarkable ease and over virtually no resistance. Ambassador Beaulac in Habana has followed the situation with great care and he has reported that Batista is in complete control of the Cuban national territory and machinery of Government and that there is virtually complete acquiescence in his regime on the part of the Cuban people. Batista has not interfered with the Cuban labor unions or with the operations of the Inter-American Regional Office of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions which is located in Habana. Eusebio Mujal, head of the Cuban Confederation of Workers, has publicly supported Batista as have representative business and commercial associations.

The Batista regime has formally requested our recognition and has made satisfactory public and private statements with regard to Cuban intention to fulfill its international obligations; its attitude towards private capital; and its intention to take steps to curtail international communist activities in Cuba. In connection with this latter point the Batista Government on March 21 refused to allow two Russian couriers with diplomatic pouches to enter Cuba from Mexico, and the new Cuban Foreign Minister has stated that he will not allow Russians to use diplomatic pouches in the future. While Batista when President of Cuba in the early 40’s tolerated communist domination of the Cuban Confederation of Workers, the world situation with regard to international communism has changed radically since that time, and we have no reason to believe that Batista will not be strongly anti-communist. [Page 872]The new Cuban Foreign Minister, Miguel Angel de la Campa, signed the Stockholm Petition2 two years ago, but the Embassy and the Department are satisfied that this need not be taken as indicating softness towards communism and in fact our reports are that Mr. de la Campa is anti-communist.

The Department of State naturally deplores the way in which the Batista coup was brought about and is apprehensive that this kind of thing may occur in other countries of Latin America where elections are being held this year. Consequently, the Department and Ambassador Beaulac in Habana have been proceeding with great caution in this matter despite our very special position in Cuba which includes heavy capital investment, enormous international trade, the Nicaro nickel plant operation, the Guantánamo Naval Base, three armed services missions and the recent signing of a bilateral military assistance agreement which requires implementation. At least ten countries of Latin America have already announced continuation of diplomatic relations with Batista. These include Mexico, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. France, Switzerland, Spain and China have also recognized Batista. We have been informed that Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay and possibly Costa Rica, which are among the leading democratic governments of the Hemisphere, will simultaneously act to recognize the Batista regime some time this week. We have been in consultation with those governments, and their view of the situation is roughly the same as ours. The United Kingdom, Canada and Austria have asked to be given advance notice of our action.

Under the circumstances I believe that it would be detrimental to the special relations that this country has with Cuba to hold up recognition any longer, and accordingly request your authorization to announce the continuation of diplomatic relations with Cuba on March 27 and to give suitable advance notice of this action to the interested governments.3

  1. Drafted by Mr. Miller, with the assistance of Secretary Acheson. The source text bears no signature, but Department of State records indicate that this memorandum was approved by the Secretary and the text transmitted by telegraph on Mar. 24 to the President at Key West, Florida.
  2. For information on this subject, see the editorial note, Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. iv, p. 276.
  3. The Department of State received President Truman’s approval of the Secretary’s recommendation on Mar. 27, 1952 (737.02/3–2752); on that date, Ambassador Beaulac informed Cuban Minister of State Angel de la Campa that the United States recognized the new Government in Cuba.