453. Memorandum of a Conference With the President, White House, Washington, February 15, 1960, 10:05–10:55 a.m.1


  • Secretary Herter, General Goodpaster

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to Cuba.]

He [the President] said he had been talking to Mr. Pawley.2 He is a most knowledgeable man as regards Latin American affairs, particularly in the Caribbean area. He had, for example, gone to Cuba as an emissary from civilians having interest there, but with the knowledge of Mr. Dulles and Mr. Rubottom, to get Batista to abdicate in favor of a junta. Batista would have done this had the U.S. guaranteed to keep the junta in power, but this could not be done.

[2 sentences (4 lines) not declassified] The President added to Mr. Herter that it has crossed his mind that we should make some further use of Mr. Pawley in a Latin American assignment. Mr. Herter said that Mr. Pawley had had large interests in Santo Domingo which would interfere with this but that he has disposed of them. The President said Mr. Pawley had told him he had disposed of all his holdings in Cuba, Santo Domingo, Mexico and Haiti. Mr. Herter said that the situation in Santo Domingo is very bad in that the Trujillo Government is acting against the moderates and may soon create a situation like that in Cuba where the opposition is taken over by wild radicals.

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to Cuba.]

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, DDE Diaries. Secret. Prepared by Goodpaster on February 19. The time of the meeting is taken from the President’s Appointment Book. (Ibid.)
  2. The President met with William Pawley from 9:45 to 10:05 a.m. and from 11:39 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. (Ibid.)