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

477. At meeting with President Batista February 19 William Tompkins discussed various aspects Prio case. Question possible conviction came up. Tompkins stated Prio second offender and Justice intended make every effort convict. Yet he could not promise anything. I questioned advisability having ex-President Cuba go to jail and become martyr and wondered if it would not be in best interests US for him to leave country. Much of Prio’s effectiveness would then be lost through losing support of large Cuban colony Miami. Also, Prio would then no longer be embarrassment to US. Batista agreed. Tompkins said Justice would have this under consideration and would be guided great extent by wishes State Department. I hope State Department will follow up on this suggestion with Justice.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/2–2058. Confidential. Sent by pouch and received on February 22 at 1:06 p.m.