Miller files, lot 53 D 26, “Cuba—1952”

The Ambassador in Cuba (Beaulac) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Miller)

secret

Dear Ned : Thanks very much for your letter of May 21.1

I am dining tomorrow night with Laurence Crosby 2 and several other members of the Chamber of Commerce, including Messrs. Duys and Carter,3 I believe, to give them an opportunity to express themselves on the question of the treaty,4 etc.

With reference to Batista, I have had two or three brief, informal chats with him, but I have consciously refrained from rushing in to see him after the coup d’état.

Most chiefs of mission here expected that Batista would eventually give some sort of reception to meet the chiefs of mission or to give opportunity to the chiefs of mission to meet him. He never did this, however. Then the Cincuentenario came along and we all met Batista during that week. I had previously seen him at the home of Alfonso Fanjul.

Prior to the Cincuentenario I reminded Dr. Campa that President Batista had expressed the desire to have a chat with me sometime. The Minister asked me whether it was urgent that I see the President and I said it was not. I enclose a memorandum5 of my conversation with Campa on that occasion.

Meanwhile, of course, I have spoken to Campa on the question of the debts, of the problem of the accountants, etc., and I will speak to Batista about them when I see him.

Within the next week or two I expect to see Carlos Saladrigas and have a talk with him about Cuban-American relations. I plan to tell him, as well as Batista, about Prío’s promise to revive the battalion-for-Korea business. I do not intend, however, to suggest that the Batista Government revive the issue. I do not think it would be in our interest for it to do it at this time. It is not yet clear to me whether Batista is going to stay in or whether we are entering another very difficult political period here, with possible disturbances, etc. I don’t think it is [Page 874]clear to anybody else, either, including Batista. It is obvious that the Government is worried. Military and naval officers are spending a large part of their time, including nights, in their barracks. Cars are being stopped and searched in Country Club Park and on roads entering Habana. The Government knows about Sánchez Arango’s disappearance and probably suspects the worst. Batista has made very little progress in developing a popular following.

Under the circumstances, if the Batista Government tried to send troops to Korea it would probably badly damage its standing in Cuba. It might bring about the fall of the Batista regime. It would be too bad to have it appear that the Batista regime had fallen on the issue of Korea. That would indeed be a defeat for us.

One reason that I have not rushed in to see either Batista or Saladrigas, aside from preferring that they invite me to see them, is that I have not been too sure of what to say to them; and the truth is, I am still not too sure, principally because of the uncertainties I have tried to indicate above. I have of course been very courteous with officials of the regime, including Batista and Saladrigas, and I shall do what I think is best calculated to induce them to cooperate with us. I should think that the prospect of getting their cooperation in general is good. I do not include Korea in this estimate, for the reasons set forth.

In conclusion, the principal question here is the stability of the regime, and I think that it is that situation that we have to watch before we can determine what we can and should do down here.

I told Al Nufer, and he tells me that he told you, that I should probably want to go to Washington for consultation sometime this month. Here again, I have not wanted to hurry my trip because I was hopeful of having more to say as time went on, and more specific recommendations to make. On both counts I think I should still wait a while before going to Washington, unless you have something to say to me that you would prefer not to say in writing.

I know that if you have any suggestions you will give me the benefit of them. This is not a happy situation down here. In fact, I get sick at heart when I think of the unfortunate developments that may possibly occur here. So far, our ability to limit those possible unfortunate developments is practically nil, but I am trying to be alert to any possibility that we can be helpful in the future.

[Here follow personal remarks.]

With kindest personal regards,

Sincerely yours,

Willard
  1. Not printed (Miller files, lot 53 D 26, “Cuba—1952”)
  2. Laurence A. Crosby, President, American Chamber of Commerce in Cuba, and President, Cuban Atlantic Sugar Company.
  3. John Duys and Prescott Carter.
  4. Reference is to a draft treaty of friendship, commerce, and navigation, which the United States hoped to negotiate with Cuba. No such treaty materialized, however, during the period 1952–1954. Documents pertaining to this subject are in file 611.3742.
  5. Not printed.