173. Editorial Note

On December 9, special emissary William Pawley met with President Batista. No memorandum of this conversation has been found, but Pawley later recalled that he spent 3 hours with Batista that evening. According to Pawley:

“I offered him an opportunity to live at Daytona Beach with his family, that his friends and family would not be molested; that we would make an effort to stop Fidel Castro from coming into power as a Communist, but that the caretaker government would be men who were enemies of his, otherwise it would not work anyway, and Fidel Castro would otherwise have to lay down his arms or admit he was a revolutionary fighting against anybody only because he wanted power, not because he was against Batista.”(Communist Threat to the Caribbean, Part 10, page 739)

The five men whom the U.S. Government had approved for the caretaker government were Ramón Barquin, Enrique Borbonet, General Martín Diaz Tamayo, José Pepin Bosch, and one other whose name Pawley could not recall. Batista did not accept the offer. Pawley believed that Batista might have accepted if he had been authorized to tell Batista that the plan had the approval of the U.S. Government. But Rubottom had not authorized him to say even that the plan had the “tacit approval” of the U.S. Government. (ibid.)

On December 12, President Eisenhower was given the following information:

“Sensitive reports from Havana indicate certain of the friends of Batista have urged him to make way for a junta to pave the way for a peaceful solution of the situation. So far Batista has resisted these efforts on the basis of constitutional responsibility and moral responsibility to turn the government over to Rivero Aguero, [less than 1 line not declassified] contacts are unhappy at Batista’s reluctance to leave [Page 282] power.” (Memorandum by John S.D. Eisenhower, “Synopsis of State and Intelligence Material Reported to the President,” December 12; Eisenhower Library, DDE Diaries)