115. Editorial Note

On July 31, at 10:10 a.m., Under Secretary of State Christian Herter telephoned Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs John Irwin to express the Department of State’s view that the Marine guards at Yateras should be replaced by civilian guards hired by the company. Irwin said he would look into the matter and call Herter back. (Eisenhower Library, Herter Papers, Telephone Conversations)

At 11:35 a.m. that day, Irwin telephoned Herter. According to a memorandum of their conversation: [Page 177]

Jack Irwin telephoned to say there were 6 officers and 139 men Marines on Guantanamo and that of those 15 were guarding the water supply which is located 4 miles outside the Naval Base. Said water supply was formerly guarded by Cuban military but they withdrew and Navy supplies Marines at Government’s request. The Commandant had been hesitant but the Amb. thought it was a good idea. Irwin said Adm. Burke whose principal concern this problem was thinks it would be impossible to have civilian guards. Such civilians would either have to be Government oriented and the rebels would attack them, or they would have to hire rebels which would be dealing with the rebels. Felt only choice was no guard at all or the Marines. Irwin said Adm. Burke would be glad to come over and discuss it and CAH said he would arrange a time with Adm. Burke direct.” (ibid.)

At 11:40 a.m., Herter called Admiral Burke who agreed to meet Herter in the latter’s office at 1 p.m. that afternoon. (ibid.)