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

851. Miro Cardona has submitted letter of resignation alleging ill health. He is actually sick with severe sore throat, possibly including abcess. However basic reasons for resignation understood to be: (1) Irritation and frustration over lack capacity and decision President Urrutia. This leads to constant deferral decisions until opinion Fidel Castro known. Since Castro generally engaged in public appearance and speechifying, in which he obviously taking great pleasure, work of government progresses with extreme slowness. (2) Miro Cardona also extremely angered at anti-American campaign unleashed by Castro as result criticism from abroad of summary trials and executions. This campaign being pushed by 26 July daily paper Revolucion of which director is Carlos Franqui.

Several influential persons both in and outstanding of government are endeavoring to convince Miro Cardona to withdraw resignation, but as of this morning uncertain whether they will be successful. Matter still confidential.

Reliable sources indicate Armando Hart also seriously considering resignation, apparently mainly because of frustrations over governmental delays and machinations of Franqui, who endeavoring obtain creation Ministry Culture to be headed by himself.

An air of frustration and increasing disillusionment is apparent among several responsible people either associated with government or originally favorably disposed to it. If this trend continues, and if these and other resignations take place public confidence in government will be seriously shaken and period instability may result. Anti-Americanism would then probably continue and possibly increase.

Ambassador leaving in few hours and not possible clear this message with him prior to sending.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/1–1959. Confidential; Niact.
  2. The telegram bears Smith’s signature, but it is clear from the text that he did not see it before his departure from Havana. In telegram 852 from Havana, January 19, the Embassy noted it had received a note from the Cuban Government that morning approving Bonsal’s designation as Ambassador. The Embassy recommended, in view of the “delicate and tense situation here,” that Bonsal be confirmed as quickly as possible and that he come directly from Bolivia to Cuba to present his credentials. (ibid., 123–Bonsal Phillip W.) In telegram 513 to Havana, January 19, the Department indicated that the situation required that Bonsal first report to Washington for brief consultations and give the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, if it wished, an opportunity to interview him. (ibid.)