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

1708. Deptel 1043.2 Although fully understanding and sympathizing with thinking behind proposal recall me for consultation, believe it advisable that I remain here for present. We are getting into increasingly tense and serious situation. I hope that American lives [Page 753] and property will not be endangered but I do not wish to create such an opportunity for extremist action as would be afforded by my presentation of “firmly worded protest” and then follow-up with my own and Mrs. Bonsal’s departure from local scene.

I sympathize with Spanish Ambassador’s action last night. I called on him this morning at his house to say goodbye and was extensively photographed. However, I doubt wisdom his course.

It is my view that we should not dignify Castro’s ravings by formal specific protest through official channels but should rather follow course of making press statement along lines suggested in Embtels 1687 and 1704.3 I appreciate situation in US but urge, from point of view of extremely difficult situation here, that we follow course I have suggested.4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.37/1–2160. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Received at 1:28 p.m.
  2. Document 426.
  3. In telegram 1687 from Havana, January 19, Bonsal transmitted the text of a statement which he recommended he issue in Havana to answer, “if only for the record,” Castro’s “campaign of hostility and calumny” against the U.S. Government. (Department of State, Central Files, 611.37/1–1960) In telegram 1704 from Havana, January 21, Bonsal provided one additional sentence that he proposed to add. (ibid., 611.37/1–2160)
  4. In telegram 1045 to Havana, January 21 (sent at 6:01 p.m.), Herter requested that Bonsal return immediately to Washington for consultations, that he bring Mrs. Bonsal, and that he inform the Foreign Ministry of his action. Herter said that Bonsal would be given an explanation when he arrived in Washington. Herter also said that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, before whom he had appeared earlier in the day, had told the press that Bonsal was being recalled. In telegram 1716 from Havana, January 21 (received at 7:49 p.m.), Bonsal replied that he and his wife would leave the morning of January 23 for New York and then Washington. He wanted to avoid leaving Havana the same day as the Spanish Ambassador and also wanted to avoid the possibility of an incident in Miami. Both telegrams are ibid.