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

524. Catholic Church now openly and actively sponsoring same objective as ours—a peaceful solution.

Papal Nuncio2 informed me eve March 10:

If present Harmony Commission is unable to make progress Church may suggest present Commission retire.
Then Church may appoint committee of Bishops consisting of Archbishops of Oriente, Matanzas, and Las Villas.
Castro’s life was saved by Perez Serrante, Archbishop of Oriente, some years ago. Church hopes Castro still has sense of obligation.
Archbishop of Oriente will exert full pressure persuade Castro agree to peaceful solution.

Two factors in situation are disturbing:

Efforts of Harmony Commission do not yet have full confidence and support from all principal non-revolutionary groups. We believe Commission should have concentrated on obtaining such support.
Influence of 26 July movement appears to have increased alarmingly within recent weeks. This renders more difficult reaching of any understanding with Batista.

Castro rejected peace negotiations through non-political Harmony Commission (Embtel 523, March 113). Castro repeated demand that [Page 53] GOC allow Cuban newspaperman visit Sierra Maestra doubt [re-doubt?].

Present political situation is delicate, difficult and unpredictable.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/3–1158. Secret; Priority.
  2. Monsignor Luigi Centoz.
  3. Not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/3–1158)