19. Telegram from the Department of State to the Embassy in Cuba1

442. Department concerned over reports from the press and other sources indicating increasing opposition to electoral solution in Cuba. These include among others (1) recent statements opposition leaders in U.S. that fair elections under Batista impossible due (a) fraud in registering voters and Government control of carnets; (b) suspension guarantees during reorganization parties; (c) increasing violence; (d) GOC failure grant at least partial amnesty political prisoners; (e) continued suspension guarantees in Oriente; and (f) rearrest or refusal release political prisoners despite writs habeas corpus; (2) withdrawal Pardo Llada’s PNR from elections and pressure being placed on Grau by Autenticos in Oriente to withdraw; (3) recent declarations Civic Institutions and Juventud Catolica adverse to GOC and elections; (4) indications religious hierarchy becoming active against Government and not supporting elections; (5) lack of Batista initiative to reassure prospective voters by meeting challenge of opponents through clear definition of what Government considers fair assurances of honest elections and inviting bona fide counter proposals as basis for conferences seeking compromise either by direct talks or through intermediaries; (6) inviting exiles’ return with guarantees on their pledge abstain from revolutionary activities while campaigning politically.

In view above Department desires Embassy’s appraisal soonest present popular support in Cuba for elections and steps GOC could be encouraged to take to stem apparent rising tide against electoral solution. NY Times editorial today states GOC has taken no steps insure free elections thus they offer no solution. Department inclined to believe immediate announcement by Batista of invitation to neutrals to [Page 37] observe elections (Embtel 4742) followed by other positive steps might stem such adverse reaction US press and encourage popular participation.

Department would be interested in Embassy’s considered opinion on what both Government and pro-election opposition conceivably might do to promote reasonable election and diminish growing violence.

FYI Reference Embtel 474, Item b, third paragraph, OAS has shown reluctance supply observers whereas UN has done so previous occasions including recent Costa Rican elections. Figueres subsequently praised this procedure.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/2–2158. Secret. Drafted by Wieland and Leonhardy, cleared with Snow and Rubottom, and approved by Wieland who signed for Dulles.
  2. Document 15.