Learn about the beta

Fall of the Batista government, November–December 1958


152. Telegram From the Embassy in Cuba to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 121.373/11–458. Top Secret; Transmittal designation not declassified.


153. Telegram From the Embassy in Cuba to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/11–658. Confidential; Priority.


154. Memorandum of a Conversation Between the Ambassador in Cuba (Smith) and President-Elect Rivero Agüero, Havana, November 15, 1958

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.11/11–1758. Confidential. Transmitted as an enclosure to despatch 515, November 17. Drafted by Gilmore. In telegram 503 from Havana, November 14, Smith asked the Department for guidance in his conversations with Rivero Agüero and Batista planned for the following day. He asked: “If President Elect Rivero Agüero is willing to compromise and is willing to take whatever steps necessary to bring about a peaceful solution in Cuba, will the Department support the new administration?” (ibid., 611.37/11–1458) In telegram 264 to Havana, November 14, the Department said that Smith in his conversation with Rivero Agüero should not go beyond referring to Rivero Agüero’s stated willingness to seek a peaceful solution and asking him for details as to how he planned to achieve this. The Department concluded: “We believe we should know what these concrete plans are and chances for success in ending internal strife in order be able determine desirability any possible revision current policies.” (ibid.) The Department apparently furnished no instructions as to what Smith should say to Batista.


155. Telegram From the Embassy in Cuba to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/11–1658. Confidential; Priority.


156. Telegram From the Embassy in Cuba to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.37/11–1658. Confidential; Priority.


157. Telegram From the Embassy in Cuba to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 437.1183/11–1758. Confidential.


158. Memorandum of a Conversation Between the Director of the Office of Caribbean and Mexican Affairs (Wieland) and Ricardo Artigas, Department of State, Washington, November 18, 1958

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/11–1858. Confidential. Drafted by Wieland. Artigas was a close associate of exiled General García Tuñón.


159. Memorandum From the Director of the Office of Caribbean and Mexican Affairs (Wieland) to the Deputy Director of the Office (Little)

Source: Department of State, CCA Files: Lot 70 D 149, Rivero Aguero. Confidential. Drafted by Wieland and addressed also to Leonhardy.


160. Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, November 22, 1958

Source: Department of State, CCA Files: Lot 70 D 149, Pending Statements. Confidential. Drafted by Stevenson. In his memoirs, Smith indicates that he went to Washington on November 23 for consultations. He describes in particular a meeting, whose date is unspecified, in the office of Deputy Under Secretary Murphy. (The Fourth Floor, pp. 160-161) No record of such a meeting in Murphy’s office has been found. Ambassador Smith left Havana on November 17 and returned on November 23.


161. Special National Intelligence Estimate

Source: Department of State, INRNIE Files. Secret. A note on the cover sheet indicates that the following intelligence organizations participated in the preparation of this estimate: the Central Intelligence Agency, and the intelligence organizations of the Departments of State, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and The Joint Staff. The estimate was submitted by the Director of Central Intelligence and was concurred in by the United States Intelligence Board on November 24. Concurring were the Director of Intelligence and Research, Department of State; the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Department of the Army; the Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Intelligence, Department of the Navy; the Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence, USAF; the Director for Intelligence, the Joint Staff; the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, Special Operations; and the Director of the National Security Agency. The Atomic Energy Commission Representative to the USIB and the Assistant Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, abstained, the subject being outside of their jurisdiction. Published in full in Declassified Documents, 1984,1510.


162. Memorandum of a Conversation Between the Ambassador in Cuba (Smith) and President-Elect Rivero Agüero, Havana, November 25, 1958

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.11/11–2658. Confidential. Drafted by Gilmore. Transmitted as an enclosure to despatch 558 from Havana, November 26.


163. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Cuba

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.37/11–2658. Confidential. Drafted by Leonhardy and Snow and cleared with Wieland who signed for Dulles.


165. Memorandum Prepared in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research

Source: Department of State, INR Files: Lot 58 D 776, Cuba Situation 1957–1959. Secret; Sensitive Situation. No drafting or clearance information is given on the source text.


167. Telegram From the Embassy in Cuba to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 711.56337/11–3058. Confidential; Niact. Passed to the Commander of the U.S. base at Guantanamo.


168. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Cuba

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 711.56337/11–2958. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Little and cleared in draft with Hill and in substance with Kefauver and Snow.


169. Telegram From the Embassy in Cuba to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/12–258. Secret; Priority.


170. Telegram From the Embassy in Cuba to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/12–558. Confidential; Priority. Ambassador Smith had left Havana on December 4 to return to Washington for consultations. (Telegram 578 from Havana, December 4; ibid., Central Files, PER)


172. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Diplomatic Missions in the American Republics

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 511.00/12–858. Confidential. Drafted by Little, cleared with Wieland and in draft with Ambassador Smith and Reed (RPA), and approved by Wieland who signed for Herter. Sent to all diplomatic missions in the American Republics except Cuba. Pouched to Havana.


174. Telegram From the Embassy in Cuba to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/12–1158. Confidential; Niact. A note on the source text indicates that Smith read the telegram at 3:20 p.m. on December 11.


177. Diary Entry by Senator Allen J. Ellender

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 033.1100–EL/3–2459. Senator Ellender visited Cuba December 9–14, during which time he met with high-ranking Cuban Government officials, including Foreign Minister Guell on December 10. Ellender also addressed the Directors of the American Chamber of Commerce, visited the Moa Bay Mining Company, and on December 12 gave a press conference in Havana. His conversation with Guell was reported in despatch 608 from Havana, December 11. (ibid., 033.1100–EL/12–1158) A schedule of and brief report on Ellender’s activities is in despatch 636 from Havana, December 17. (ibid., 033.1100–EL/12–1758) A transcript of Ellender’s press conference was transmitted to the Department as an enclosure to despatch 633 from Havana, December 16. The Embassy noted that Ellender had been prodded by certain correspondents “into statements critical of U.S. Government policy toward Cuba, questioning the existence of a civil war in Cuba, and referring to the revolutionary elements as ‘bandit groups’.” The Embassy discussed the varied reactions to Ellender’s comments and concluded:

“In the rapidly moving Cuban scene it is probable that Senator Ellender’s press interview will have no great or lasting effect. That he spoke out so openly for the Administration and against the rebels at a time when the United States Government was trying to maintain a policy of non-intervention and when the rebels held much of eastern Cuba in their control must be viewed from the Embassy’s standpoint as regrettable.” (ibid., 033.1100–EL/12–1658)

Text of a public statement, issued by the “Civic Resistance Movement” and highly critical of Ellender’s remarks, was transmitted to the Department as an enclosure to despatch 642 from Havana, December 18. (ibid., 033.1100–EL/12–1858)


179. Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, December 15, 1958

Source: Department of State, CCA Files: Lot 70 D 149, Cuba—Political. Confidential. Drafted by Stevenson.


180. Telegram From the Embassy in the Dominican Republic to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/12–1558. Confidential.


181. Telegram From the Embassy in Cuba to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/12–1658. Secret; Priority.