219. Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation Between the President and the Secretary of State, Washington, January 9, 1959, 2:56 p.m.1


[Here follows discussion of an unrelated matter.]

The Sec said he thinks we should make a shift of ambs in Cuba. The Pres said apparently Smith sent a message to Herter 2 which they told him of last night and referred to the gist of it—a reflection on us etc. The Sec said a good strong letter from the Pres would take care of any reflection on him. The Sec said, after the Pres said he can’t evaluate it, that the fact is it will be extremely difficult to carry on relations with a new govt without a new amb. No reflection on the amb. The Pres said the Sec will have to do it on his own judgment. The Pres can’t figure it—he was impressed with his idea of not admitting we were wrong and no other amb being changed. The Sec did not know this latter and will check. The Pres said the Sec has a day or two to look it over. Tell him frankly we are thinking only of our relations and himself. Tell him the Pres personally has stated how pleased he is with his efficiency and devotion to job. The Sec agreed. The Pres was impressed with the statement we would be the only ones changing.3

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, Telephone Conversations. Prepared by Bernau. The source text also bears Herter’s initials and the notation by Macomber: “WBM saw & ret’d.”
  2. Supra .
  3. In a note of January 9 to Secretary Dulles, Bernau wrote: “The President wanted you to know: He got the information about no other changes in ambs in Cuba from Ann [Whitman]. She got it during a phone call from Earl Smith, whom she knows.” (Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, Telephone Conversations) In an undated memorandum for the record, Whitman described her telephone conversation with Smith at 1 p.m., presumably on January 8. (ibid., DullesHerter Series)