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

169. Had two hour meeting with Batista July 31. He was friendly and anxious to be cooperative. Re lifting of suspension of constitutional guarantees, Batista said he was anxious to do this but did not know when it would be possible because of revolutionary activities.

He said he would put 1000 men at Moa Bay and 1000 men at Nicaro to defend these properties if US will supply 2000 rifles and some other supporting equipment.

Upon inquiry re the T–28’s I said delivery was still under consideration. Batista said he would again open negotiations with Great Britain and Canada after my reiteration paragraph 2 Deptel 51.2 Batista then said he hoped we realized we were giving aid and comfort to revolutionaries and Communists by withdrawing support from GOC. He expressed concern about stationing Marines at Yateras, stating both US and GOC would have to watch this carefully as rebels may try to cause an incident to place US in embarrassing position.

He again assured me: (A) that honest elections would he held on November 3; (B) that he has already invited the world press to witness the elections; (C) that interest in elections would mount as November 3 drew near; (D) he has no objections to a unified opposition and (E) is still awaiting request from opposition parties to invite UN or OAS to send observers.

No matter who is elected, he believes they will have to keep the leaders of armed forces and police intact to preserve law and order; otherwise anarchy will ensue. When I asked Batista whether revolutionaries would cease activities upon election of either Grau or Sterling, he replied that revolutionaries would not call off their activities after the election of Rivero Aguero, Grau, or Sterling.

Smith
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/8–158. Confidential; Priority.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 102.