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

490. Deptel 442, February 21.2 Although political opposition has maintained free and open elections only solution political problems, they discouraged for following reasons:

They still doubtful Batista will hold honest elections.
Opposition divided.
No new strong leadership.

Because of basic US foreign policy of non-intervention I do not see how we can do anything be helpful regarding points (B) (C). On point (A) Batista and GOC have assured me will hold free open elections and I am trying not only obtain free open elections but actions on part GOC engender hope in people such elections possible (Embtel 4743). If Department believes advisable and so instructs I will pressure Batista not to wait completion filing of slates (Embtel 474) but take part or all following actions soonest:

Make public announcement will invite world press witness coming elections.
Ask OAS send representatives Cuba witness elections.
Invite UN supply observers witness elections.
Invite opposition party leaders appear on TV, press to discuss steps ensure free elections.
Invite leaders responsible civic groups confer GOC on means create atmosphere favorable to elections.
Give publicity provisions elections laws and statement GOC emphasizing will abide by those laws.

Department should bear in mind revolutionary groups determined do all possible prevent elections. These groups hope achieve power by force or conspiracy and are responsible stepped-up campaign terrorism, sabotage. Further, revolutionary opposition leaders abroad—with exception representatives 26 July movement—have insignificant following in Cuba. For these reasons Embassy believes it is doubtful that revolutionary opposition could be reincorporated into political scene now and undesirable for US to advocate this.

Department should also bear in mind GOC determined win elections and appears confident.

We do not maintain that coming elections will solve underlying political problems. Yet we believe that continuing efforts to achieve free and open elections, in as favorable atmosphere as possible, is only course open to us.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/2–2658. Secret; Priority.
  2. Supra.
  3. Document 15.