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

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


Dear Willard: I have your excellent letter of June 21 about the general situation in Cuba and I thoroughly agree with you on every count. I see no point in your taking the initiative in going to see Batista. On the contrary, it seems to me that the present situation in Cuba is such that our attitude should be one of aloofness. The Cubans seem to be headed for a terrific mess both politically and economically and, as you say, our ability to limit these developments is almost nonexistent. Consequently, if we become busybodies and take the initiative in approaching Batista to discuss our relations, we are liable to end up to some extent or another on the hook with an undischargeable responsibility for their problems. It seems to me that even Lopez Castro2 and Mañas3 when they came in to see me recently4 on the sugar problem recognized that there was not very much we could do about it. Although their note5 discussed a lot of possibilities, such as stockpiling, it seemed clear from their conversation that the only thing they seriously thought we could do about it was to press for an international sugar agreement. Even this could not be decisive. What the Cubans ought to do is to turn some of their cane land into grazing land for cattle thus reducing their sugar production to reasonable limits and take advantage of their enormous beef raising potential for which they have a ready outlet in this country. However, this would take three to five years, I suppose, and in the meantime all sorts of trouble can develop.

If you can come up we would be glad to see you whenever you decide that you want to come. I expect to be in Washington fairly steadily with the exception of (a) a couple of days in New York early next week, (b) the trip to Brazil6 which will take me away about June 30–July 8 and (c) a trip to California late in July.

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I had lunch with Luis Machado7 yesterday and he is his old self once more. He has gotten what he said was the enthusiastic concurrence of his Government to vote for him as Executive Director of the International Bank and until the election is held in September, he will take a part-time job as a member of Gene Black’s staff. He is quite pessimistic over the outlook in Cuba for the next three years and thinks that Batista got in at the worst possible time. He said that Batista was like the fellow who came in at the end of the party and was then handed the check. He said that Prio was sitting quietly in Miami enjoying life and almost relieved at being out from under in the nick of time.

Incidentally, on the question of the instability of the regime, Herbert Matthews of the New York Times tells me that they are getting rumors from Ruby Phillips8 in Habana that there is friction between Batista and “the military junta”. I said that I had heard these reports just after Batista took over but had not been hearing them recently.

With kindest regards,


Edward G. Miller, Jr.
  1. Supra.
  2. Amadeo Lopez Castro, President, Cuban National Development Commission, and Minister Without Portfolio in President Batista’s Cabinet.
  3. Arturo Mañas, Cuban Sugar Stabilization Institute.
  4. Reference is to a meeting held at the Department of State on May 28, 1952; a memorandum of that conversation, dated May 28, not printed, is in Miller files, lot 53 D 26, “Cuba—1952”.
  5. A translation of this note, which is dated May 28, 1952, is in the Miller files.
  6. Mr. Miller accompanied Secretary Acheson when he visited Brazil, July 2–8, 1952; for information on the Secretary’s trip, see the editorial note, p. 586.
  7. Cuban Ambassador to the United States until April 1952.
  8. Ruby Hart Phillips, New York Times correspondent in Habana.