102. Telegram From the Embassy in Cuba to the Department of State 1

63. Reference Embassy telegram 48.2 I believe further amplification of my talk with President Batista on July 10 would be of interest to Department.

I stressed US felt it was highly desirable for a meeting of the two brothers in order that Fidel could give direct orders for release of prisoners, and we would establish whether Raul would adhere to an order from Fidel. I also stressed that US had much to gain by this meeting and that I thought GOC would have little to lose. At this [Page 152] point he produced an article from Miami Daily News written by Jay Mallin on July 9. Many lines were underscored in red pencil. Batista was particularly annoyed at statement that former US Marine was in the hills training the rebels and irritated at statements about the favorable treatment received by prisoners and the general comraderie.

I gathered impression Batista believes actions of US (since suspension of guarantees March 12) have been helpful to the rebels. He mentioned all the scare headlines of US press re conditions in Habana. He spoke of our allegedly intervening in the affairs of Cuba by interfering with the purchasing [of] arms from outside nations as covered in Embassy telegram 49.3 Then he went on to report that he understood Trujillo’s son could not buy a plane in US unless sufficient guarantee were given that it would not be resold to the GOC.

He also brought up again the cancellation of the T–28 trainers, although I pointed out to him at great length the necessity for postponing this delivery with the American hostages still in the hills.

I have had pleasant relationship with Batista, and he has always tried to accede to my requests. At this time I find that he is disturbed due to the many acts, which he considers to have been unfriendly, on our part. I understand there is a possibility that Department may wish me to renew request for meeting of brothers if hostages are not released. If this is necessary, I hope we can show some act of good faith before we press him again—such as delivery of T–28 trainers after release.

Batista is well aware of the fact that the longer the hostages are held the more the 26 of July Movement loses sympathizers in the US.

Smith
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/7–1358. Confidential; Priority.
  2. Document 93.
  3. See Document 94. In telegram 51 to Havana, July 18, the Department requested Smith to assure Batista and/or Guell that the Department had not interceded with any other governments to prevent the sale of arms to Cuba. Smith was also authorized to say that the sale of arms by the U.K. and Canadian Governments was not subject to clearance by the U.S. Government. The telegram noted that Batista may have had in mind the Department’s refusal in May 1958 of a British request to transfer to Cuba rifles and ammunition of U.S. Lend-Lease origin. This had been done in accordance with the general policy of not approving transfers of U.S. Lend-Lease materials to “disturbed areas.” (Department of State, Central Files, 737.56/7–1158)