15. Telegram From the Embassy in Cuba to the Department of State1

474. At my meeting with President Batista last night Batista reiterated he was determined hold honest elections. Believes Government candidate can win and plans do everything their power to honestly elect their candidate. Batista stated terrorists have stepped up activities to try prevent elections. Many opposition candidates have received threatening letters and have been told they and their families will be killed if they take part elections.

Batista also believes terrorist activities stepped up to force GOC again suspend constitutional guarantees. However I do not believe any consideration has been given to renewing such action.

I said US public hoped for free and open elections and I suggested (a) he invite world press to witness elections and (b) he ask OAS send representatives Cuba to witness elections. Batista receptive. He pointed out timing such moves very important; Government parties presently busy filing slates and any action would have follow completion slates.

Tompkins2 and I impressed by both attitude and sincerity of Batista this occasion.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/2–2058. Confidential; Priority.
  2. Assistant Attorney General William Tompkins was in Havana to discuss with the Cuban Government action which the Department of Justice was contemplating against Carlos Prio Socorras, former President of Cuba and a resident of Miami, for his involvement in the illegal shipment of arms to the Cuban rebels. See Document 17.