69. Editorial Note

During the evening of June 26, Cuban rebel forces of the 26th of July Movement attacked the facilities of the Moa Bay Mining Company, seized 11 Americans working there, and retreated into the hills. In telegram 867 from Havana, June 27, Ambassador Smith reported that, according to the manager of the Moa Bay Mining Company, the rebels had said the raid was a protest against the Americans “using gasoline supplied from Moa Naval Base.” (Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/6–2758) This was an apparent garble, which Smith seemed to rectify in telegram 869 sent later that day, when he reported that the rebels had seized the Americans as a protest against “Cuban planes they claim gassing at Guantanamo Naval Base.” Smith said that Consul Park Wollam was flying from Santiago to Moa Bay “with instructions to keep Embassy fully advised but not to deal directly with rebels for release.” Noting that he had informed Foreign Minister Guell of these developments, Smith suggested that the kidnappings might be a publicity stunt. (ibid.)

For Ambassador Smith’s recollection of the kidnappings and the U.S. Government’s response, see The Fourth Floor, pages 140–146.