168. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Cuba1

314. Embtels 5642 and 565.3 Department agrees recommendation Embtel 565 that GOC be discreetly discouraged sending Cuban troops guard aquaduct. This will require especially careful handling since we cannot leave impression that U.S. does not look and has not been looking first to GOC for protection, particularly in event it later becomes necessary for Marines to undertake protection. In discussing this with GOC suggest that Ambassador refer to momentary lull in activities around pumping station, and mention tha in any event it had not been determined whether U.S. could supply food and radio equipment. After acknowledging that decision must be theirs, Ambassador might comment (without actually suggesting that Cuban troops not be sent) that in apparently confused situation it might be advisable to let matters stand as they are for moment and avoid actions which might cause further difficulties at Yateras. FYI if GOC decides not send its troops to guard aquaduct at this time and if Batista or Guell states to Ambassador that under circumstances GOC cannot be responsible security of pumping plant and other facilities in absence GOC troops, Ambassador may reply that he had addressed himself only to apparent realities of situation and had not considered this point, which he would refer immediately to his government. FYI

FYI while Department and Navy concur that permission cannot be granted Cuban troops land at base, Department would prefer that this question not be dealt with in discussion with GOC at this time. If GOC troops make their way to water plant we cannot of course object. Re provision food and radio equipment, Department concerned at possible implication to future status of Base if logistical support furnished Cuban troops from Base itself. Re Embtel 5234 Department sending Embassy today by pouch Department Army report status these two cases.5 Suggest that lists be revised to determine whether radio equipment already delivered or awaiting shipping instructions [Page 276] from Cubans could meet communications requirements at water plant. FYI.6

  1. 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.
  2. See Document 166.
  3. Supra.
  4. In telegram 523 from Havana, November 19, the Embassy recommended that the U.S. Government expedite the shipment of communications equipment to the Yateras water plant, which it understood had already been approved and which did not fall under the arms suspension. (ibid., 737.00/11–1958)
  5. Not further identified.
  6. In telegram 574 from Havana, December 3, Smith, without giving details, said that the Guantanamo question had been “discreetly handled.” He said that the Cuban Government was “relieved” not to have to send Navy forces to Yateras and it would not do so in the future unless requested by the United States. (Department of State, Central Files, 711.56337/12–358)