213. Notes on the Secretary of State’s Staff Meeting, Department of State, Washington, January 2, 19591

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to Cuba.]

2. Cuban Situation

Mr. Rubottom reported on the situation in Cuba. He said that evacuation of non-official Americans was proceeding satisfactorily. As of late last night, he said, there were about 500 Americans interested [Page 341]in leaving. He said that Colonel Barquin, who is the military authority to whom the Batista regime’s power was turned over, was not obstructing the evacuation activities and had approved the use of a chartered plane and a ferry to move Americans. There is no evacuation of American officials in progress. In response to a subsequent question from Mr. Lightner, Mr. Rubottom said that public use of the word “evacuation” should be avoided and he (Mr. Rubottom) felt that an appropriate term would be “transportation arrangements”.

Mr. Rubottom reported that Urrutia had been named the provisional president and Santiago the provisional capital. It was possible that Urrutia and Castro would go to Habana this afternoon and that Colonel Barquin would turn over authority without resistance. Mr. Rubottom said Habana was quiet, that looting and disorder had never gotten completely out of hand or become general. Looting had been concentrated on the casinos, the big hotels, and the homes of important Batista officials. Mr. Rubottom said that not all the Batista cabinet members had gotten out of Cuba; some had sought asylum in foreign embassies and some had been arrested. Castro supporters had taken charge of the Cuban Embassy in Washington.

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to Cuba.]

  1. Source: Department of State, Secretary’s Staff Meetings: Lot 63 D 75, January 1959. Secret. Prepared by McElhiney. The meeting was chaired by Acting Secretary Herter. The time of the meeting is not indicated.