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

783. Eyes only Herter. When I delivered note2 to Foreign Minister, Agramonte, we had cordial friendly exchange of views. When I informed him of my intentions to resign, he expressed concern and attempted to dissuade me from such action. Agramonte stated his feelings towards me were the same as when he wrote laudatory editorials after my statement at Santiago3 condemning police brutality. He may have been just polite, but I was impressed by his sincerity.

Embassy has been informed by reliable 26 of July contact that President Urrutia stated GOC had no intention of requesting my recall.

Precipitate resignation could be interpreted as acknowledgement that US policy in Cuba has not been correct and that US had been favoring one side. This is not the case and we should avoid giving any appearance of such acknowledgement.

I believe I can have favorable relations with new government, but if it appears from my early contacts that any feeling is so deep against me as to affect my usefulness, I could resign immediately.

It is generally believed in Havana that Batista’s sudden decision to leave was due to my suggestion. Leak must have occurred from GOC; it certainly did not come from us. In any case this shortened war and saved many lives.

I could make an informal courtesy call on President. At that time I could find out first-hand what his feelings are.

In light of above I suggest Department review whole matter. I am prepared to immediately follow out whatever Department considers in best interests of US.

Smith
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 123–Bonsal Philip W. Secret; Niact. Also published in Declassified Documents, 1983, 915.
  2. See footnote 3, supra .
  3. Regarding Smith’s statement in Santiago on July 31, 1957, in which he expressed abhorrence at “any form of excessive police action,” see The Fourth Floor, pp. 18–23.